Fake drugs arrest

Colquitt County Sheriff's Office investigators display guns and other items seized during a search of a Norman Park residence. Officers served a search warrant on the house on Honey Bear Road expecting to find illegal narcotics, but instead they found hemp packaged as if it were marijuana, Investigator Channing McDowell said.

MOULTRIE, Ga. -- A convicted felon was charged with seven felonies on Sept. 14 after the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office said officers caught him red-handed processing counterfeit drugs.

Anterrio Merritt, 28, was charged with possession of a counterfeit substance, altered identification mark, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a shotgun that’s barrel had been sawed off.

CCSO Investigator Channing McDowell said the narcotics unit conducted a search warrant at 290 Honey Bear Road, Merritt’s residence in Norman Park, for illegal narcotics.

However, the search yielded both more and less than that, McDowell said. Initially, the unit found two weapons, a .38-caliber revolver and a sawed off pump-action shotgun, sitting on his bed and nightstand respectively.

“He is a convicted felon so he cannot be in possession of any firearms,” McDowell said.

The shotgun barrel was sawed off to about 16 ½ inches, just 1 ½ inches below the legal national standard of 18 inches, and its serial number was filed off, McDowell said.

Further searching found several plants that looked like marijuana, digital scales, packaging equipment to go along with distribution and a Mason jar filled with leaves and buds.

 “[Merritt] stated he was in the process of breaking marijuana, which it isn’t, down from the plant down to where you can package it and sell it,” McDowell said. “ We caught him halfway in between that. He was selling it as marijuana but it’s really hemp.”

There were still several hemp plants left to process.

According to the investigator, hemp has such a low amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis, that it won’t give a high.

The unit also found two small bags filled with a white, crystal substance suspected of being meth and a small bag filled with an unknown pink, crystal substance.

“After interviewing Merritt, he stated that he didn’t know what the crystal-like substance in either bag was,” McDowell said. “But he said it was not methamphetamine, which I do believe him because it didn’t test for meth.” 

Not knowing what they were, all three bags were sent to the lab for further testing. 

Merritt was taken to the Colquitt County jail.

“He is a convicted felon, so we’ll see what the judge says about giving him bond,” McDowell said.

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