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Men charged with dumping drugs out of car window

CONYERS — A deputy working during the winter storm was concerned when he came up on a car driving erratically on icy roads, but he became suspicious when he saw the occupants of the car throw plastic bags filled with what he believed to be drugs out of the windows.

David Ghee was driving the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office’s Ford F-550 support vehicle Wednesday morning during the ice and snow storm to help pull cars out of ditches and remove fallen trees from roadways.

As he was traveling on Ga. Highway 20 near the Yellow River bridge around 11 a.m., he reported seeing a gray Ford Mustang in front of him driving recklessly in the snow and ice. Ghee stated in the incident report that the car was moving “in a zigzag motion” with the back tires spinning in the snow. A car in front of the Mustang was driving straight and slowly, he stated.

Ghee activated his blue lights in an attempt to pull over the car to give the driver a warning about driving in dangerous road conditions when the Mustang turned onto Wilson Road, and the driver continued to drive recklessly.

“I activated my audible siren. At that time, the Mustang was almost sideways in the roadway again,” Ghee reported. “The driver of the car made eye contact with me. The Mustang straightened up in the roadway and accelerated.”

Just about that time, the deputy saw the driver hold small clear plastic bags out of his window and shake them, pouring out powder-like contents and tossing out the bags.

“I observed two hands outside the passenger side door window. Those hands had small yellow plastic baggies and the contents were being poured out. It too was some type of powder,” Ghee stated.

The car eventually stopped and Ghee held the driver and his passenger at gunpoint until backup units could arrive, according to the report.

Deputy Jonathan Baker came to the scene and arrested the driver, Covington resident Austin Hughes, 26, of 15 Hunters Ridge. While searching the man, he found a plastic bag with a small amount of marijuana, according to the incident report. Deputy Baker also searched inside the Mustang and found nine 12-gauge loaded shotgun shells in a passenger door pocket, along with a torn piece of yellow plastic bag.

Other deputies at the scene found several plastic bags containing a white powdery substance strewn along Wilson Road.

Hughes was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, reckless driving, operating a motor vehicle while license suspended or expired, and possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce.

The passenger in the car, James Robert Payne, 25, of 3414 Irwin Bridge Road, was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.