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CPD nabs drug offenders

COVINGTON -- The Covington Police Department made several drug-related arrests on Tuesday.

At around 1 a.m., an officer on patrol observed a 1998 green Oldsmobile exiting from behind businesses on Ga. Highway 142 and then entering Quick Trip and parking behind gas pumps. Without putting gas in the vehicle or entering the store, the driver left the gas station and headed south on Ga. Highway 142. According to a police report, he was pulled over at Ga. Highway 142 and Settlers Grove Road by the officer for failure to maintain lane.

The officer reported that the driver was "visibly nervous and shaking" and he could smell an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. After backup arrived, officers asked the occupants to leave the vehicle. While being escorted to the front of the patrol car, a blue bank bag fell from the groin area of Kristopher Armistead, 22, of 5137 Collins St. in Covington, according to the CPD report. The bag contained two clear bags of suspected marijuana, according to the report, and officers also found two digital scales and a box containing small plastic bags and $140. Armistead immediately yelled, "It was all his," referring to the driver of the vehicle, according to the report.

Armistead was placed under arrest for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. The driver was charged with failure to maintain lane and released with the other passenger. The money was released to Armistead and the other items were taken into evidence.

At nearly 2 p.m. Tuesday, officers were dispatched to 8145 Washington St. in reference to a citizen who stated he had spotted a stolen Toyota Tacoma that belonged to him. The driver of the vehicle was observed by a police captain leaving the Big Easy and driving onto Flat Shoals Road. Randall Fogarty, 49, of 1185 Brooke Meadows Ct. in Lawrenceville, was pulled over by officers and his tag returned no valid insurance. Fogarty said the vehicle was not stolen, but he had taken out a loan on the vehicle from another man and they had a Magistrate Court hearing the following day. Searching the vehicle to find evidence of valid insurance, proof of ownership or the loan agreement, an officer found a cigarette box with small red plastic bags containing suspected crystal methamphetamine.

Upon his arrival at Newton County Detention Center, Fogarty told the arresting officer "that he cannot believe that he was being arrested for that lie about the vehicle being stolen," according to the CPD report. "I advised Fogarty that he was not being charged with stealing the vehicle and that he was being charged with possession of methamphetamine. Fogarty then stated, 'Oh, OK,' and walked into the Newton County Detention Center."

Finally, just after 10 p.m. Tuesday, an officer in the Quick Chick parking lot was put on alert when he heard a vehicle traveling down U.S. Highway 278 playing excessively loud music. The officer followed the driver down Gordy Street, where he pulled into a driveway. The officer activated his emergency equipment, and the suspect left his vehicle and fled on foot. A foot chase ensued through residents' back yards, across Gordy Street and behind Quick Chick. When the suspect tripped, the officer was able to use his Taser on the suspect. It took three rounds of the Taser before the suspect obeyed commands to lie flat with his hands out by his sides. Other officers arrived on scene and helped detain the man, identified as Mark Baker, 44, of 5175 Victoria Park Drive in Loganville.

A K-9 assisted with the search of Baker's vehicle resulting in a find of a plastic bag of methamphetamine. After being medically cleared at Newton Medical Center, Baker was transported to Newton County Detention Center and charged with obstruction or hindering a law enforcement officer; driving with suspended or revoked license; noise violation; and possession of Schedule I and II methamphetamine.