Moultrie Observer

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April 3, 2014

Jogger key to bust

MOULTRIE — An alert jogger who flagged down a passing police car Tuesday helped law enforcement officers seize an impressive haul of drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription pills and marijuana.

Officers with the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office arrested one man at the former Wilkes Nursery building after converging on a group of people there at about 5 p.m., and could bring charges against others.

Joseph Paul French, 27, has been charged with 10 felony counts, including nine alleging violations of the state Controlled Substances Act related to the various drugs found.

“That (arrest) was basically dealing with illegal drugs found while investigating a report of suspicious activity,” sheriff’s Inv. Shawn Bostick said. “The deputy was flagged down by a jogger” who was on the walking track.

“The deputies and an investigator went to check it out and made contact with French and some other individuals, very likely interrupting a drug transaction.”

The suspected methamphetamine found appeared to be actual “crystal meth” of the kind manufactured in bulk and shipped through Texas, Bostick said.

“That’s not the form we see (that’s made) locally,” he said. “It is basically a purer form of meth.”

Among the prescription medication found was hydrocodone, other pain pills, methadone, Ativan and Viagra.

“We’ve been seeing an increase in the sale of prescription medication,” Bostick said.

A tally of the weight of the suspected cocaine and methamphetamine had not been made as of Thursday, but if the amount and purity are of a certain level it could mean an upgrade in charges against French from possession with intent to more serious trafficking.

French has no prior felony convictions in the state for which he served any prison time, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

“We’re still investigating it at this time,” Bostick said of Tuesday’s operation. “There could be other charges. Other arrests will be made.”

Bostick said more tips from the public like the sheriff’s office received this week could lead to some other impressive drug busts.

“It’s an example of the community letting us know of things that don’t look right,” he said. “If people see something suspicious and let us know, a lot of times we can make cases on it.”

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