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Suspects charged with selling counterfeit designer merchandise

Five people have been arrested and a sixth person is wanted in connection with a Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Narcotics and Vice Unit investigation that uncovered the alleged sale of counterfeit designer goods at the Old Salem Swap Shop on Old Salem Road. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

Five people have been arrested and a sixth person is wanted in connection with a Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Narcotics and Vice Unit investigation that uncovered the alleged sale of counterfeit designer goods at the Old Salem Swap Shop on Old Salem Road. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

CONYERS The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office has arrested five suspects and seized more than $400,000 in counterfeit designer merchandise in an investigation of a local swap shop.

According to Lt. Michael Camp, the Sheriff's Office Narcotics and Vice Unit, a joint operation with the Conyers Police Department, executed multiple search warrants April 25 at Old Salem Swap Shop, located at 1439 Old Salem Road.

Camp said the search warrants were the result of months of investigation that included undercover personnel purchasing counterfeit goods at the business. Counterfeit merchandise with labels including Coach, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, True Religion, Polo, Lacoste, Timberland and Calvin Klein was purchased at the Swap Shop, according to Camp. If genuine, the items would have had a retail value of $409,705.

Six suspects have been charged in the investigation, five of whom have turned themselves in or have been arrested.

Charged in the investigation were Yvonne Patricia Rodrigues, 62, 2364 Philadelphia Road, Conyers; Suliman Munira Sillah, 23, of 2900 Landrum Drive SW, Atlanta; Odawinnie Gunter, 34, of 1930 Riverchase Circle, Conyers; Pauline Morine Ferguson, 60, of 1130 Fountain Crest Drive, Conyers; and Mellannie Candacy Gibbs, 32, of 1531 Brandon Glen Way, Conyers. Each has been charged with one felony count of selling goods with forged, counterfeit trademarks, service marks or copyrighted designs.

A warrant has been issued for the sixth suspect.

In other police news, the Conyers Police Department arrested a Covington man on a drug distribution charge following a traffic stop May 9.

Alan Brett Knight, 22, of 90 Knight Circle, Covington, has been charged with willful obstruction of law enforcement officers, giving a false name/address or birthdate to law enforcement officers, no seat belt, and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

According to the CPD incident report, Knight was arrested after a pickup truck in which he was a passenger was pulled over on Sigman Road at about 10 p.m. because he and the driver weren't wearing seatbelts.

The driver told officers that he was on his way to buy Benadryl for his dog, which had been bitten by a snake, and was dropping Knight off at a friend's house.

During questioning of Knight, he allegedly gave false information to the police officer about his identity and then fled on foot into Northside Village shopping center. The officer ordered Knight to stop or he would be Tasered, and Knight complied.

During a search of Knight, the officer found a pill bottle covered with camouflage duct tape in his right front pants pocket, according to the report. Knight allegedly told the officer that the bottle contained half methamphetamine and half imitation drug. Knight also allegedly said he intended to sell the methamphetamine.

The driver of the pickup told officers that he did not know about the drugs and said he was giving Knight a ride as a favor. He agreed to a search of the pickup truck and no contraband was found. He was released on a citation for seatbelt violation, according to the report.