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Traffic stop nets marijuana, cocaine, grenade seizure

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Originally stopped for speeding through a Clayton County Police sweep, a 55-year-old man was eventually arrested for trafficking marijuana and cocaine, Chief Jeff Turner said.

During a follow-up investigation, narcotics officers searched Val Jerome Ealey's home, and discovered 51 pounds of marijuana, a gram of cocaine, a handgun and a grenade, police said.

County police officers didn't know if the grenade was operable, or if it was a training grenade. A bomb squad was called in to dismantle the grenade, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was contacted to begin a federal investigation, said Lt. Robert Bridgeman.

During the Monday night raid, police also seized a 1994 Harley Davidson motorcycle, a 2000 Jaguar, and a 1997 Cadillac Deville, from Ealey's 12342 Lakeside Parkway home.

Officers first stopped Ealey when they spotted him speeding on Museum Circle in Jonesboro, during a "Safe Community Initiative" operation on Saturday afternoon, Turner said.

Police were in the area enforcing "quality of life" issues, such as building code violations. During the traffic stop, police found more than six pounds of marijuana and a small amount of cocaine in his car, according to the narcotics officer's report.

The case was passed to the narcotics unit for further investigation. After two days of investigation, Police received a warrant to search Ealey's house.

At 7:40 p.m., Monday, while no one was home, they raided the residence and found marijuana packaged in two large, compressed bundles in the bedroom, according to police. The larger bundle contained smaller, compressed bricks. Turner said he believes the man was selling small quantities of drugs, in the county, as well as storing the illegal drugs for wider, bulk distributions.

In total, police seized 57.7 pounds of marijuana and 122 grams of cocaine. The drugs have a street value of $75,000 to $100,000, Turner said.

Ealey was arrested on charges of trafficking cocaine, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, trafficking marijuana, and the possession of a handgun by a convicted felony, according to Bridgeman.