COVINGTON — Residents of the Spring Hill Community have received an early Christmas present, according to Covington/Newton County Special Investigations Unit Commander Lt. Philip Bradford.
"We've shut down a little drug ring in Spring Hill. The whole reason we do this is to try to clean up the community," Bradford said. "So, from the Newton County Sheriff's Office and the Covington/Newton County Special Investigations Unit, we'd like to say to the community, maybe y'all can have a quiet Christmas out there without all this riffraff going on. Have a Merry Christmas."
Bradford said numerous complaints had been received from members of the community about illegal narcotics being sold from a residence at 2205 Morningside Drive near the Newton County Landfill.
"We started working the case in August and as it carried through we made numerous buys out there throughout this time, and yesterday we did a round-up on the case," Bradford said, adding that four arrests were made. "We had taken sale of cocaine warrants out on several people."
Arrested and charged were:
Chester Franklin, aka Uncle Nap, 28, of 2205 Morningside Drive, sale of cocaine and possession of a gun by a convicted felon.
Brian Roseberry, 31, aka Big B, of 7155 Pine Needle Drive, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, sale of cocaine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon;
Antonio Gude, 36, 270 Jordan St., Monticello, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, sale of cocaine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon;
Calvin Curry, aka Man Tan, 54, of 2245 Morningside Drive, sale of cocaine.
Bradford said the sweep started with the arrest of Franklin during the morning Thursday.
"We took him into custody on Alcovy Road on a traffic stop using the Newton County Crime Suppression Unit," Bradford said. "We took him into custody real quick and moved the car off the roadway ... we didn't leave him standing on the side of the road or let him call his mama or anything. Nobody knew he had been arrested."
Bradford said agents then went to Franklin's residence at 2205 Morningside Drive where they arrested Roseberry and Gude.
He said both Roseberry and Gude were already on probation for earlier charges and Franklin was on parole from state prison, having been out one year and five days from previous Newton County drug charges.
Bradford said a "substantial amount" of powdered cocaine was found in a "hide" outside the home. He said surveillance teams had spotted where the suspects hid their drugs outside the Morningside Drive home in case they were busted.
"They do that so that when you hit the house, there's not any dope in the house," Bradford said.
Also discovered was a 9mm handgun, found in the living room of the home where anybody had access to it. The gun was viewed by law enforcement as a weapon to be used for protection of the house. Digital scales were also found.
Bradford said while search warrants were being executed at the house, agents noticed a truck being driven up and down the road several times and identified the driver as someone who had also figured into their investigation.
"During our investigation of the house, a couple of times people at the house would say, ‘We don't have nothing. Go see Man Tan," Bradford said. Man Tan is the street name of Calvin Curry who was frequently seen during their surveillance parked at the Pure gas station on Morningside Drive.
"We also locked up Man Tan for sale of cocaine and took him into custody (Thursday) night," Bradford said.