Authorities allegedly located approximately 2,000 Lortab, Xanax and hydrocodone pills, while executing a search warrant on the home of William Keller Mizzell, of Hapeville. Mizzell was arrested in McDonough, Thursday, following an undercover narcotics investigation.
By Jason A. Smith
Bond was set at $50,000 for a Hapeville truck driver, after an undercover narcotics investigation allegedly revealed he conducted international drug transactions by pretending to be a missionary.
William Keller Mizzell, 52, appeared in Henry County Magistrate Court Friday, represented by the Public Defender's Office, and waived his right to a preliminary hearing, court records state.
Judge Martin Jones bound Mizzell's case over to Superior Court, according to Magistrate Court records. The judge also ordered Mizzell to surrender his passport, according to Henry County Sheriff's Maj. Jeff Norman.
Norman confirmed that at the time of Mizzell's arrest, he was employed as a truck driver for the AAA Cooper trucking company.
The Flint Circuit Drug Task Force began an undercover investigation on a prescription-pill organization, in which a pair of covert police officers with the task force allegedly participated in illegal buys of pills from Mizzell, said Task Force Maj. Chad Rosborough.
"Once we made those buys and got further into the investigation, we realized he lived in Hapeville, Ga., (3371 Old Jonesboro Road) and was having the pills shipped to him from ... Kosovo," Rosborough explained. "We purchased several hundred pills from Mizzell."
The major added that after investigators arrested Mizzell Thursday in McDonough, they executed a search warrant on the suspect's home, with the Hapeville Police Department.
"We located approximately 2,000 Lortab, Xanax and hydrocodone [pills]," Rosborough said. "We also found evidence that he did have a connection in Kosovo, where he was getting 10,000 to 15,000 pills per year.
"He sold the pills to undercover cops for $1 per pill," the Task Force Major continued. "The street value can sell for up to $5 per pill."
In 2006 Mizzell, originally from Alabama, went to Kosovo for the first time, under the pretense of being a missionary, said Rosborough.
"When he was setting up his drug transactions, he used being a missionary to cover his illegal activity," he added. "In my opinion, it would be easier for him to get through security checkpoints without causing suspicion, by saying he was a missionary. Basically what it is, in other countries they don't have the strict regulations that we have in the U.S., so it's easier to obtain [pills] from other countries and have the drugs shipped here."
Mizzell is not affiliated with any religious organization, said Rosborough. He is charged with possession of Xanax and sale of Xanax.
"He sold us several hundreds of Xanax pills in Henry County," responded Rosborough, as to why Mizzell was not charged with additional drug offenses. "That was the only drug that was sold, [in the Task Force investigation].
The discovery of the other narcotics in Mizzell's Fulton County home expands the investigation beyond Henry County.
"We have already spoken with the Fulton County District Attorney's Office, and more drug charges are expected to be filed," added Rosborough.
The Task Force major credited the arrest to his agents, saying they did an "outstanding job" during the investigation.
"We had agents from our task force doing the undercover work, from street-level sellers, to the leader of the organization, who was having the drugs shipped in from another country."
Public Defender Gary Bowman could not be reached for comment.