COVINGTON - Newton County Sheriff's Office warrant officers, along with a team of U.S. Marshals, went to a home in Brown Bridge Crossing subdivision Friday morning searching for a wanted man. They did not locate that man, but six other people were arrested at the residence on drugs, weapons and theft charges, according to Special Investigations Unit Commander Lt. Phillip Bradford.
Bradford said officers went to 9376 Tara Drive and, following protocol, one team surrounded the house, while another knocked on the door and asked permission to enter and search for the suspect.
"While at the residence, SIU Special Agent Tony Howard realized this was a house we had been getting calls and complaints about," Bradford said. "At the same time, the perimeter team is in the back of the house and sees a motorcycle that had some kind of covering over it, but it was not totally covered. They ran a check on the crotch rocket street motorcycle and discovered that it was stolen.
"Tony (Howard) speaks with the person renting the house and asks for consent to search the residence for the person they are looking for and for any other illegal contraband based on what they had just found with the motorcycle. She consented," Bradford said.
When the officers entered, they found what Bradford described as "a lot of people" in the house. They located approximately 23 bags of marijuana packaged for sale in the master bedroom and a weapon and a small amount of marijuana in a downstairs bedroom, along with a 9mm handgun.
This bedroom belonged to the woman's son, who was not home at the time the officers were at the house, but they were told that he was at work at a Covington fast food restaurant. Covington Police Department officers went to the restaurant and arrested Marcus Blackwell, 29, and charged him with possession of marijuana less than one ounce and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
In speaking with Blackwell's mother, the person renting the house, officers were told that her nephew, Quinmorris Tate, had brought the stolen motorcycle to the residence.
Tate, 24, of 458 Smith Store Road, was at the Tara Drive residence at the time and he was arrested for felony theft by taking.
Other residents of the Tara Drive residence who were arrested were: Curtis Blackwell, 52, who was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; James Blackwell, 22, who was charged with possession of marijuana less than one ounce and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; Andrew Prince, 32, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute; and Larry Thomas, 22, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The suspect that the warrant officers were after is still at large, Bradford said.
"We're happy to shut that house down. It's a rental house, owned by people out of McDonough. We'll send them a letter putting them on notice of what their property is being used for," Bradford said. "That will put the responsibility on the homeowner to now either clean that house up or risk seizure of the house. We could seek seizure on it if they allow this type of activity to continue."
Barbara Knowles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org