Arson Investigation Leads To Arrest

Sheriff Chuck Smith reported that the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office along with the Georgia State Fire Marshall’s Office investigated several suspicious fires that occurred in the Gay, Georgia area of Meriwether County. The investigation into these fires, three total, revealed that these incidents were all arson related. A suspect was identified with an arrest being made.

“On 07/16/2015 there was a woodland fire that occurred on Wildwood Court, Gay, Georgia. The Meriwether County Fire Department responded to this location and extinguished the fire. The Fire Department found items at the scene of this woodland fire that was consistent with the fire being purposefully set.” Sheriff Chuck Smith said.

“On 07/19/2015 and 07/23/2015 the Meriwether County Fire Department responded to a structure fire of a vacant house in the 100 Block of Pinewood Drive. The first incident on July 19, 2015 there was moderate damage done to the exterior of the structure. The second fire that occurred on July 23, 2015 caused extensive damage to the interior of the structure. In both of these incidents items of evidentiary value were located that revealed that both of these fires were intentionally set. Our agency was called into investigate these incidents as arson. We contacted the Georgia State Fire Marshall’s Office to assist with the collection of the fire scene samples. Through the course of the investigation our investigators were able to identify a suspect in all three of these incidents. Through evidence located at the scene along with interviews conducted we were able to obtain warrants for the offenses of Burning of Woodlands 1 Count, Arson 2 counts, and Burglary 1 count. Our investigators arrested Michael Lee Wright, W/M, 25 years of age, who resides in the 100 block of Pinewood Drive, Gay, Georgia for the offenses listed. Wright is currently being held in the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office Jail without bond.” Sheriff Smith stated.

“I am very pleased that our investigators were able to bring these incidents to a successful conclusion with the arrest of the perpetrator in these incidents. We are fortunate that no one got injured in these incidents and that the fire personnel were able to extinguish these fires before they spread and endangered others and their property.” Sheriff Chuck Smith advised.

Marijuana Eradication

recovered marijuana 2

Sheriff Chuck Smith reported that the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office along with the Governor’s Office of Marijuana Eradication Task Force, Georgia State Patrol, Narcotics Task Force, Upson County Sheriff’s Office, Thomaston Police Department, Georgia Department of Parole/Probation and the Georgia Department of Corrections K-9 Unit conducted an air operation in Meriwether County on July 9, 2015.

“With the assistance of the Governor’s Task Force Air Unit we were able to identify and target four separate locations in which marijuana was being grown in the county. The air unit would provide the coordinates to the ground units of the marijuana grow fields. The ground units were then able to go in and confiscate the plants. These locations where the marijuana was being manufactured in many instances were in very heavily wooded areas which made access extremely difficult. However, our guys knew this going in that this is the way these growers operate to avoid detection. We were able to locate and recover over 118 marijuana plants with an estimated street value in excess of $500,000.00 The investigation into these growing operations are on-going.” Sheriff Chuck Smith said.

“I appreciate the dedication and hard work that these law enforcement agencies and personnel put into this all day operation to locate the illegal marijuana grow sites. This takes this marijuana out of our community and prohibits its consumption.” Sheriff Smith stated.

Homicide Investigation

Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the Homicide of Kenneth Michael Spice. Kenneth was last seen at Wal-Mart on Bullsboro Dr., Newnan, Ga. on Wednesday  06/10/2015 around 5:00 pm. Kenneth was wearing a blue in color t-shirt with “Yamaha” written on the back, blue in color work pants, and tan work boots. Kenneth stood about 6’ 2” tall and weighed about 200 lbs.  Kenneth was driving a white in color, 1996 Ford F-150, the truck was missing the tailgate, bearing Ga. tag PSB 8872. We are looking for anyone with information about this homicide or anyone who may have seen Kenneth on this date, after the hours of 5:00 pm. If you have any information on this matter please contact Sgt. Howard / Inv. Durand at the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office at 706-672-4489 or Inv. Robertson / Captain Lewis with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office at 770-253-1502.

Spice

Spicetruck

Multiple Search Warrant Execution

Sheriff Chuck Smith reported that the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office executed several search warrants in Meriwether County on June 18, 2015.

“We had several back to back operations that we conducted on Thursday, June 18, 2015 regarding the possession of narcotics as well as assisting the Georgia Department of Revenue on a Tax Preparation Business.” Sheriff Chuck Smith said.

“Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office personnel along with the Multi-jurisdictional Task Force executed a search warrant at 460 Wrightsville Road, Manchester, Ga.  Agents seized over 1.1 grams of methamphetamine and a handgun in this search. Mark Anthony Dean W/M, 37 years of age was arrested on the scene and charged with V.G.C.S.A. Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Crime. Dean was transported to the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office Jail and booked on the stated charges.” Sheriff Smith stated.

“Our agency was contacted by the Georgia Department of Revenue in reference to assisting them with the execution of a search warrant at Tax Connection Worldwide, 322 West Main Street, Manchester, Ga. This operation was conducted by multiple agencies in multiple jurisdictions in what has been reported as a multi-million dollar tax scam that involved a Rainnessia T. Stiggers B/F, 43 years of age of West Point, Ga. Stiggers operated a string of tax preparation businesses in West Georgia and Alabama. This location in Manchester was just one of the businesses involved in this investigation. Stiggers was arrested by the Georgia Department of Revenue for felony theft, identity fraud and other felonies due to the allegations that she manipulated income tax returns. We assisted them in the execution of this search warrant in regard to obtaining additional evidential items from the Manchester location. This investigation is on-going with additional arrest possible. This operation involved the Georgia Department of Revenue, the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office, Troup County Sheriff’s Office, Atlanta Police Department and the Manchester Police Department. The Georgia Department of Revenue is requesting that anyone that may believe that they are a victim of fraud to call them at 404-417-2344. ” Sheriff Smith advised.

Death Investigation Leads To Homicide

 

On June 15, 2015 around 5:30 p.m. the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Investigators responded to the 100 block of Primrose Circle, near its intersection with Todd Road, in reference to a body being found in a wooded area. This location is north of Greenville, Georgia. The property owner reported that he was checking his property when he discovered a body.

“Once our personnel arrived on the scene we established contact with the property owner who provided the information related to this discovery. We then located the partially decomposed body in the wooded area based on the information received. At that time we cordoned off the area and began our investigation. The GBI Crime Scene Unit was called into assist our investigators with processing the scene.” Sheriff Chuck Smith stated.

“As of now we can only report that the remains appear to be that of a white male. The cause of death has yet to be determined; however it is suspicious in nature based on the scene investigation. We will know more once we get the autopsy results from the GBI Crime Lab. The body was transported to the GBI Crime Lab by the Meriwether County Coroner’s Office. A canvass of the area has been done to see if anyone has seen or heard anything regarding this matter. We have also been in contact with our surrounding law enforcement agencies to see if they have any recent missing person reports. We will continue to follow up on any and all leads related to this matter.” Sheriff Smith advised.

If anyone has any information related to this incident, please call the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 672-6647 or (706) 672-4489.

 

Update From Sheriff Chuck Smith, 06/17/2015 

“With the assistance of the Coweta County Sheriff’s Air Unit, Air #1, we were able to locate the missing vehicle in this matter. Air #1, with one of our investigator’s on board was able to locate the vehicle in a wooded area in the Primrose Circle Area, Meriwether County, Georgia. Air #1 was able to direct ground units into the location where we were able to recover the vehicle. We have transported the vehicle to our agency for further processing by the GBI Crime Scene Unit. Our investigation has led us to a probable identity on our victim, however we can not release further until we have confirmation from the GBI Crime Lab and proper family notification.  All of these investigative efforts are in process at the present time. Our investigation continues and we will have more information to release once its available. We request that if anyone has any information related to this matter to give us a call at (706) 672-6647 or (706) 672-4489.” Sheriff Chuck Smith stated.

 

Update from Sheriff Chuck Smith,  06/18/2015 

“On 06/18/2015 our investigator’s were contacted by the GBI Crime Lab and informed of the positive identification of the partially decomposed body that was discovered in a wooded area in the 100 block of Primrose Circle, Greenville, Meriwether County, Georgia. The GBI I.D. Unit confirmed the identity as that of Kenneth Michael Spice, W/M. Spice was 31 years of age and a resident of Lamar Smith Drive, Newnan, Coweta County, Georgia. Shortly after we began our investigation we discovered items that led us to the possible identity of the deceased. However, due to the decomposed state of the remains we were unable to have a positive I.D. without further assistance from the GBI Crime Lab. Kenneth Michael Spice was reported as a missing person to the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office on June 16, 2015 by a relative. Spice’s last known contact with the reporting relative was on or around June 10, 2015. The body was located in the wooded area in the 100 block of Primrose Circle on June 15, 2015 at around 5:37 p.m. This is a homicide investigation that the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office is conducting along with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office and the GBI.” Sheriff Smith stated.

If anyone has any information related to this investigation, call the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 672-6649 / (706) 672-4489 Investigator Cpl. Jason Durand / Sergeant Hugh Howard or the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office at (770) 253-1502 Investigator Jae Robertson / Captain John Lewis.

 

Update from Sheriff Chuck Smith,  06/19/2015

“At this time the case investigation is officially ruled as a homicide from an apparent gun shot wound. This determination being made as a result of our crime scene investigation and the forensic results from the GBI Crima Lab.” Sheriff Chuck Smith advised.

Burglary, Assault and Kidnapping, 05/15/2015

Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith reported that he along with Patrol Deputies and Investigator’s responded to a location North of Gay, Georgia in regard to a reported armed forced entry of an occupied residence, assault and kidnapping.

“On 05/14/2015 about 0400 hours a request for service came in through the Meriwether County 911 Center requesting that units respond to a location North of Gay, Meriwether County, Georgia in which a residence was reportedly forcibly entered and the residents were assaulted. Our Patrol Units were the first on the scene and made contact with the victims in this matter. Information was obtained that an unknown suspect forcibly entered the residence and assaulted the occupants with a handgun. The suspect then forced the occupants to drive him to a location approximately 10 miles away inside the county and dropped him out. The suspect then fled the area on foot according to the information received. We had multiple crime scenes to work regarding this incident. Our Investigative Personnel, Patrol Deputies, K-9 Unit along with the GBI Crime Scene Unit worked both crime scenes simultaneously. Fortunately none of the victims were critically injured in this matter; however one of the victim’s did receive medical treatment. This is an active on-going investigation at this time and we are limited on what can be released. However, we have increased our patrol efforts in this area and we are actively pursuing any and all leads.” Sheriff Smith stated.

“The suspect is described as a black male, possibly 25-30 years of age, 5’10 – 6’00 in height, slender muscular build, possibly wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt. The suspect concealed his face with a ski mask possibly dark colored and was armed with a possible semi-automatic handgun. If anyone has any information related to this matter or observed any suspicious activity in the North West Quadrant of the county today on or before 0400 hours this date, call the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 672-4489. Any information will be greatly appreciated or if any of our residents see anything suspicious call Meriwether County 911.” Sheriff Smith advised.

Multiple Case Investigations Resulting in Multiple Arrest

Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith reported that his Deputies, Investigator’s and Narcotics Agents have been extremely busy in the last few weeks investigating numerous incidents that have been reported or initiated in the county. These investigations lead to multiple arrests with stolen property recovered and drugs taken off the streets.

“On 04/28/2015 the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division responded to the Alvaton Food Mart in reference to a reported shoplifting already occurred. When the two patrol deputies were informed of the perpetrators in this matter they made contact to investigate further. During this time one of the subject’s gave deputies a false name and date of birth and then they both fled on foot. Johnny Russell, III, B/M, 23 years of age of Gay, Ga. was caught after a brief foot chase in which a struggle ensued. They were able to get Russell into custody, however both deputies were slightly injured in the apprehension and had to receive medical attention. The other suspect identified as Dexter Sinkfield, B/M, 31 years of age of Gay was able to elude arrest. Russell was transported to the Meriwether County Jail and was charged with 2 counts of Felony Obstruction and Shoplifting. Sinkfield is currently still at large with warrants out for his arrest for Obstruction, Shoplifting and Providing a False Name.” Sheriff Smith said.

“On 03/12/2015 a burglary was reported at an Alvaton Road, Gay, Georgia address in which several firearms were reported stolen. Investigators were able to track down a lead of where the property had been possibly sold. The stolen guns were recovered and evidence was obtained in regard to the identity of the perpetrators in this matter. We were also able to link these subjects to an additional theft of a riding lawn mower from the same location on a previous date. That stolen riding mower was recovered as well at another location. Further investigation lead to evidence being obtained of these subjects being involved in the theft of an air conditioner unit from an address off of Rocky Mount Road, Greenville, Ga. Warrants were obtained for Charles Clifton Collins, W/M, 45 years of age, of Alvaton Road, Gay, Ga. and Danielle Fawn Storey, W/F, 32 years of age, of Alvaton Road, Gay, Ga. Collins and Storey were charged with 3 counts of Felony Theft by Taking. Both subjects are currently in the Meriwether County Jail. Additional charges are pending in this matter with several ongoing investigations. ” Sheriff Smith stated.

“On 04/28/2015 Investigator’s went to 416 Oak Drive, Warm Springs, Ga. and executed a search warrant. We received information that Willard “Randy” Fowler, W/M, 71 years of age of 416 Oak Dr., Warm Springs, Ga. was in possession of stolen property. A search of the location turned up a Genrac Generator and a Dremel Multi-tool that had been stolen from a burglary in the 1800 block of Raleigh Road. Further investigation into the matter revealed that Fowler was also in possession of additional stolen property along with property that had the serial numbers altered or removed. Warrants were obtained for Fowler’s arrest. He was picked up a few days later. Fowler was transported to the Meriwether County Jail. He has been charged with Theft by Receiving Stolen Property and 3 Felony Counts of Possession of Items with Altered Serial Numbers. Fowler is on Felony Probation out of Harris County, Georgia. Additional Probation Violation charges were filed out of Harris County. Fowler is currently in the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Jail without bond.” According to Sheriff Smith.

“On May 11, 2015 Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Agents, Meriwether County Sheriff’s Deputies assisted by the Narcotics Task Force executed a search warrant at 4161 Harmony Church Road, Manchester, Meriwether County, Ga. This was part of an on-going undercover investigation involving the residents of this location. Agents seized 3.5 grams of methamphetamine, 35 Schedule IV Xanax, 1 Schedule II Methadone, 1 Schedule II Hydrocodone and numerous items of drug paraphernalia along with 2 sets of scales. Those arrested were Joshua Vernon Phillips W/M, 35 years of age, of 4161 Harmony Church Road, charges Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Schedule IV Xanax, Linda Marie Phillips W/F, 49 years of age, same address, charges Possession of Meth with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Schedule IV Xanax, Kathryn Nicole Speigal, W/F, 26 years of age, same address, charges Possession of Schedule II Hydrocodone, Possession of Schedule IV Xanax, Possession of Schedule II Methadone, Possession of Methamphetamine. There were 2 small children in the residence at the time of the search warrant execution. The Department of Family and Children Services were contacted in regard to the child case. We had recently charged Joshua “Josh” and Linda Phillips related to the same type activity at a residence on Nebula Road, Manchester, Ga. They were charged and booked in that matter and received bond. While out on bond they just moved locations and set up shop using and selling drugs again at this Harmony Church Road location. Linda Phillips has a violation of probation out of Jacksonville, Florida and Florida has extradited her back down there on their charges. We will get her back once this case has been indicted and ready for prosecution. Josh Phillips is being held in the Meriwether County Jail without bond. Speigal is being held in the Meriwether County Jail on $35,000.00 bond.” Sheriff Smith stated.

Search Warrant 4161 Harmony Church Road, Manchester, Ga. (1)

4161 Harmony Church Road

 

“On May 11, 2015 Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Agents, Meriwether County Sheriff’s Deputies, Narcotics Task Force assisted by the Georgia Pardons and Paroles executed a search warrant at 511 Dromedary Street, Woodbury, Georgia after purchasing crack cocaine from a female resident identified as Felissa Martin, B/F, 35 years of age of 511 Dromedary Street, Woodbury, Ga. The search warrant execution resulted in agents seizing two firearms, powder cocaine, a half cookie of crack cocaine, marijuana and Xanax. We also recovered other items of drug paraphernalia along with scales and packaging material. Martin was transported to the Meriwether County Jail and charged with 2 counts Felon in Possession of a Firearm, 2 counts of Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Crime, Possession of Crack Cocaine with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Schedule IV Xanax. Martin is currently in the Meriwether County Jail without bond.” Sheriff Smith advised.

Search warrant 511 Dromedary Street, Woodbury, Ga

511 Dromedary Street

Arrest for Violation of Georgia Control Substance Act Possession of Methamphetamine, Disorderly House and Probation Violation

Sheriff Chuck Smith reported that on April 29, 2015 the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit and Patrol Deputies executed a search warrant at 1185 Chalybeate Road, Manchester, Georgia. The search warrant execution resulted in four suspects being charged with possession of methamphetamine and disorderly house.

“We had received complaints of possible drug activity taking place at the residence located at 1185 Chalybeate Road over the past several months. The complaints ranged from high volumes of traffic  coming and going all hours of the day and night at the location. We had received calls through Meriwether County 911 regarding half clothed persons wondering down the middle of the road at night. Our investigation revealed that these subjects were residents of the location that were under the influence of methamphetamine. I had our narcotics unit start an investigation into this matter which lead to the gathering of sufficient evidence to obtain a search warrant for the location.” Sheriff Smith stated.

“During the search warrant execution our units were able to seize methamphetamine from the location along with various items of drug paraphernalia. We arrested Michael Clinton Whittington, W/M 54 years of age, Ronnie Joe Clay W/M, 59 years of age, Claudia Gunder Gribble, W/F, 21 years of age, and Amanda Leigh Williamson, 24 years of age. All subjects being residents of 1185 Chalybeate Road, Manchester, Georgia. All were charged with VGCSA Possession of Meth and Disorderly House, 1 count each. They were transported to the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office Jail and charged as stated. Whittington is being held on an additional charge of probation violation.” Sheriff Smith advised.

“I am very pleased when we are able to make arrest on these drug offenders that are in our communities, but this one is especially pleasing due to the fact that these perpetrators were operating directly across the street from one of our neighborhood churches.” Sheriff Chuck Smith stated.

Meriwether County College Fair/Career Day

On March 26, 2015 Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith along with the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officers Lt. Thompson, Sgt. Hightower and Deputy Sullivan participated in the Meriwether County College Fair/Career Day activities. This event was held at Camp Meriwether located in Luthersville, Ga. with students from Manchester High and Greenville Middle/High Schools attending. This career day involved grades 9-12 with the students being in the 13 to 18 year age range.

Sheriff Smith and the SRO’s provided the students with handouts for a public service career in law enforcement specifically the qualifications to become a deputy sheriff. Topics included qualifications, training, and Georgia POST Standards.

“This was a great opportunity for us to reach out to our community youth and put a career choice in front of them that they may have not considered. We also had handouts for them related to “Making Good Choices”. That will be beneficial to them in whatever career path they take. I also had a special message for the youth in regard to illegal drugs and there negative effects, keeping our schools safe and how our SRO’s make a positive difference in our schools. I talked to the youth extensively regarding the dangers of meth. We were able to reach out and talk with approximately 250 students about a career in law enforcement. Overall I think we had a very good day. There were representatives at this event from various colleges, military branches and from the private sector that presented information to our youth. I appreciate all those that were involved in putting this event on and our School Resource Officers that helped make our part successful.” Sheriff Chuck Smith said.

FullSizeRenderPictured above: Sgt R. Hightower with Sheriff Smith