COVINGTON - Lt. Philip Bradford of the Covington/Newton County Special Investigations Unit said he would like to point out to area drug dealers that it's not just the police who are keeping a close eye on what they do.
Bradford said SIU had received numerous complaints of suspicious activity at 505 Pebble Brook Blvd. in the Pebble Brook subdivision in western Newton County.
"They said a young man was selling dope and marijuana and he kept it in a book bag," Bradford said.
Last Wednesday night, he said agents observed a young man leave the house in a vehicle with an expired tag. A Newton County Sheriff's Office deputy stopped the car after the driver also failed to stop at a stop sign and failed to use his turn signal.
"He stops him for those violations and does a consent search of the vehicle and finds a book bag with more than an ounce of marijuana, digital scales and 'Baggies' (plastic bags typically used to sell marijuana). Just that was in the book bag," Bradford said.
Bradford said it struck him as ironic that the book bag had the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) logo on it.
Adrian Clark, 19, was arrested at the scene and transported back to his home after he reportedly told officers that he had more contraband in his room.
"We went to the house and there are other siblings and cousins that live there. When the police pull up with Clark in the back seat, they all ran in the house," Bradford said, adding that they could hear the back door opening and closing and a lot of scurrying around. "They were hoping, I guess, to help Clark out and move the drugs."
Bradford said agents looked in the location the suspect had said the drugs would be, but they weren't there.
"We called them all together and offered them immunity and asked them to tell us what they did with the drugs," he said. "They said, 'There's nothing else here,' and 'Good luck' but we knew the drugs were there or our suspect wouldn't have told us where to find it."
Bradford said he and the other officers went out into the backyard to look around and he observed a flip-flop near the neighbor's yard.
"It looked like somebody had just ran out of it, and I started walking in that direction," Bradford said, adding that the youngsters started warning him about going in the yard next door because dogs had been in the yard and they said they were afraid he would step in something.
Not to be deterred, Bradford kept going and found an old barbecue grill. When he lifted the lid, he found a folded T-shirt and when he opened it, there was more than 4 ounces of marijuana inside. And that's when things really got ironic.
"Guess what the T-shirt had on it. It said 'Holy Bible' and a picture of an open Bible and at the bottom it quoted Philippians 4:13 - 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,'" he said. "I guess the moral to the story is sometimes it ain't just law enforcement that's looking at you."
Bradford said Clark was taken to the Newton County Detention Center and charged with possession with intent to distribute and several traffic violations.
Barbara Knowles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.