Judge says pot leads to murder

CONYERS -- Selling marijuana is not a victimless crime and contributes to the deaths of innocent people, according to Rockdale County Superior Court Judge David Irwin.

Tavarion Nortavious Thompson, 22, of Covington was charged with violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, one count of fleeing and attempting to elude and one felony count of fleeing and attempting to elude, in connection with an incident last fall.

Thompson allegedly sold 2 ounces of marijuana to an undercover law enforcement officer on Oct. 13 for $240. Undercover cars were waiting after the sale, but Thompson allegedly tried to evade law enforcement and sent them on a chase near Flat Shoals Road.

Under a negotiated plea with the District Attorney's Office, Thompson pleaded guilty Monday morning to violation of the GCSA and fleeing and attempting to elude.

Before the sentence, Thompson addressed the court, apologizing for his behavior, and said he thought he should be able to serve his punishment in a work-release program instead of jail.

But Irwin said Thompson was part of the drug cartel and "participates in the murder of innocent people."

Irwin alluded to the fact that most marijuana is illegally brought into this country from Mexico.

"And you know why? Because there's a need for it up here," Irwin said.

Irwin said those who sell the illegal drug should be charged with murder, considering the estimated 25,000 killed in Mexico in the last year in the course of marijuana production and delivery to the United States.

"We ought to be charging everybody who sells marijuana in the United States with murder of a Mexican citizen because these people are getting killed just for being there," Irwin said.

Irwin also reminded the court of the Covington woman who was killed in February when a couple of men attempted to elude law enforcement in the same area.

"That doesn't bring anybody back," Irwin said of Thompson's apology. "My position is there is penitence due for breaking the law."

Before the sentence, Irwin said Thompson will serve some time in jail.

"I can assure you, I'm not pleased with anyone who runs from the law," Irwin added. "It puts everyone in danger."

Irwin sentenced Thompson to five years with one year to be served in confinement for the drug charge. The year in confinement could be suspended upon completion of nine months in a work-release program. Additionally, Irwin sentenced Thompson to a year in confinement for fleeing and attempting to elude. Thompson will be required to receive drug and alcohol treatment and undergo random drug screenings. Thompson was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine that could be suspended upon payment of $2,500. Irwin also suspended Thompson's license for two years.

"They call it dope for a reason, my friend. You think about that while you're sitting in the county jail," Irwin said.