By Jason A. Smith
Authorities in Clayton County say tips from the public were instrumental in their efforts to put a stop to a reported Jonesboro drug operation at 10739 Thrasher St., one block from the department's South Precinct in Jonesboro.
On Friday, police conducted a raid at the Thrasher Street home and arrested
Brandon Lamar Starr, 18, and Finney Carter Jr., 62. Both are charged
with possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Starr also faces charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a minor. Carter is charged with a violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act.
Starr and Carter are being held in the Clayton County Jail, and are expected to appear in preliminary hearings Monday.
Clayton Police Chief Jeff Turner said neighborhood help led officers to the alleged drug activity at the Thrasher Street house.
"Our initial investigation resulted from complaints from the community of open drug sales in the front yard," Chief Turner said.
The raid on the home drew much attention because it was noisy and action-packed, and involved members of the department's SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics )team, as well as special operations and narcotics units.
Chief Turner said officers took extra precautions to ensure they would be able to gain entry. He said police had reason to believe weapons were present inside the home.
"We used percussion grenades to stun the occupants and disorient them, to give officers time to breach the house safely," he explained.
Once inside, police retrieved 78 bags of crack cocaine, three firearms, $1,100 in cash and eight to nine bags of marijuana, that had appeared to be "packaged for street sale."
Police executed a no-knock warrant at the suspected drug house.
Officer Tim Owens, police department spokesman, said Thursday, five people were arrested on misdemeanor drug charges and each suspect linked the Thrasher Drive address to drug activity, thus establishing probable cause to search the location.
Authorities also conducted surveillance outside the location Thursday night, during which time Carter was seen going inside the house. Officers followed Carter after he left the house, and upon pulling him over, found drugs and a firearm inside his vehicle.
Chief Turner said Friday's arrests are evidence of a growing intolerance, on the part of local residents toward crime in the area.
"There's no place for illegal activity in Clayton County," he explained. "The residents want to take back their neighborhood."