Suspect Fewentez F. Avery, 33, is put into Newton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Justin Hipps’, at left, patrol unit by Covington/Newton County Special Investigations Unit Special Agent Brandon Rains (removed from photo due to his undercover work) following a raid Thursday night at 2232 Lee St. in the Harristown community. Alleged drug dealers were using the home as a “trap house,” where they intimidated the owner of the house and used it for drug distribution. Confiscated was what was described as a “substantial” amount of crack cocaine and cash.
COVINGTON — The Covington/Newton County Special Investigations Unit has made several arrests involving illegal narcotics in response to community tips that drugs are being sold in residential neighborhoods, according to SIU Commander Philip Bradford.
Four arrests were made in the Harristown community Thursday night and SIU agents found what is known in the drug trade as a "trap house," located at 2232 Lee St., being used for narcotics distribution.
"A trap house is where the drug dealers will go in and pretty much take over an elderly or weaker person's house and use it for drug sales," Bradford said. "The owner of this particular house ... in our whole three-month investigation, we never saw that person there, but we did see multiple people selling and multiple people buying drugs."
Bradford said agents had to forcibly enter the house and were saddened by what they found.
"There were eight people in this little, bitty, 800-square-foot house ... In the very back bedroom, behind a closed door, was the gentleman who actually lived there who we had never seen. He was sitting in this bedroom, watching TV with the door closed. It's real sad that they do this and take over people's homes like this."
Bradford said none of the four suspects who were arrested at the scene was related to the homeowner. He was not charged.
SIU, Covington Police Department officers and deputies with the Newton County Crime Suppression Team swarmed the house around 6:30 p.m.
Calvin Jones, 48, of 10124 Broken Branch Court, was standing in the yard of the Lee Street residence at the time the search warrant obtained by SIU Special Agent Brandon Rains was served. He was arrested on an outstanding probation warrant.
Other arrests were:
• Cheryl Renea Lackey, 51, of the Lee Street address was charged with possession of marijuana, less than an ounce;
• Rodricus Baynes, 24, of 10109 Broken Branch Court, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
• Fewentez F. Avery, 33, of 10118 Hidden Branches Way, was charged with three counts of sale of cocaine.
"Avery had a substantial amount of money on him and we found a substantial amount of crack cocaine in the house," Bradford said.
Bradford stressed that the investigation into activities at the Lee Street location was intense.
"An investigation like this consists of a lot of things. It takes a lot of time to work one of these cases. We try to have all of our facts in order before we go into any house," he said. "This investigation consisted of surveillance, following people around, arresting people who left the house (with drugs), as well as sending people in to buy."
Last week, a search warrant which had been obtained by SIU Special Agent Mark Jones was served at an Oxford residence on Friday, Aug. 20, and repeat drug offender Butch Reid, 29, of 148 Marble Drive was arrested, Bradford said.
Reid was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance; possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
"East Metro (Drug Enforcement Agency) had hit him before so he was currently on probation from those charges," Bradford said. "We notified his probation officer who put a hold on him based on the new charges. So he's currently being held in the Newton County Detention Center without bail.
"We've had a lot of complaints on this guy selling (drugs)," he said. "We did surveillance, stopped vehicles leaving the house and got drugs out of the vehicles on the traffic stops and went in and made several undercover buys from Reid at this house."
Bradford said the Covington/Newton County SWAT Team was called in as a precaution when the search warrant was served.
"We had some information that (Reid) had a weapon and that he'd come outside and shoot it up in the air, so we called in SWAT," Bradford said. "We hit the house Friday afternoon about 5 p.m. and Reid was in the house and ... was taken into custody without problems."
Bradford said an adult male and female and the suspect's mother were also at home at the time of the raid, but they were not charged.
Confiscated were approximately 1 pound of marijuana, a quantity of cocaine and 99 prescription Hydrocodone pills. Agents also located a loaded 9mm handgun and several sets of digital scales, commonly used for weighing narcotics.
Bradford said total street value of the contraband could be as high as $4,500.