Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Lonnie Snow, a fugitive, is placed into a Jonesboro police car Thursday morning after his arrest at Motel 6.
JONESBORO — Clayton County sheriff's deputies raided a motel Thursday morning, arresting four fugitives and a fifth person accused of selling counterfeit crack cocaine.
The take-down at Motel 6 capped a three-day round-up of fugitives in different parts of the county.
Undercover investigators and uniformed deputies stormed the second floor of the motel. At one door, deputies could hear movement inside the room but no one answered. Deputy J. Chavis opened the door with a master key and surprised wanted fugitive Tyron Pollard. Chavis and an undercover investigator made entry shouting orders with guns drawn.
"Get on the ground, do it now," said Chavis.
Pollard sounded almost meek.
"My apologies, I'm sorry," said Pollard. "I have no idea what's going on. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I never resist."
Pollard, 27, was arrested for violation of probation and taken to the Clayton County Jail.
Across the hall, in Room 217, Lonnie Snow IV wasn't quick to answer the door, either. Once inside, deputies discovered why.
"He's got a sawed-off shotgun and marijuana with scales where he's packaging from a big bag to smaller bags to sell," said Investigator Josh Waites.
Snow, 21, said the drugs were someone else's, telling deputies he shared the room with his girlfriend and sister. Neither were there at the time of his arrest. He was dismissive of the warrant against him.
"It's just probation violation," said Snow. "It's not that I don't care, there's just nothing I can do about it."
As he sat in the room, hands cuffed behind his back, Snow began exchanging trash talk with Chavis. Snow said he was friends with a man shot and killed by Clayton County police officers last month during a traffic stop. He seemed determined to rile Chavis by verbally attacking the officers involved in the shooting.
Chavis defended his fellow officers by telling Snow they were justified. Snow then refused to give officers his date of birth, after first giving them a false name.
"I know you, you're Lonnie Snow," said Sgt. Dwayne Harrison. "I've been locking you up for years. It's OK, we can get your date of birth."
Later, Harrison said Snow's upbringing wasn't the best.
"He's one of these who just keeps getting arrested," said Harrison. "And the crimes keep escalating as more violent. He's been on his own since he was little. His mother always defended him to us, saying he didn't do anything wrong and we were just picking on him."
Snow was taken to the jail with Pollard. He was charged with drugs and firearms possession.
In Room 216, deputies arrested the boyfriend of a woman they picked up on a warrant. Travis Dwayne Smothers, 26, was arrested after deputies found a firearm and counterfeit crack cocaine in the room.
The team was accompanied by two undercover agents with Homeland Security. The agents, who cannot be identified, said they were on hand in case deputies found evidence of human trafficking or alien smuggling. Harrison said both continue to be serious issues in Clayton County.
Thursday capped off a three-day round-up of fugitives. Wednesday, deputies blanketed the Norman Boulevard and Godby Road area in College Park. Sheriff Kem Kimbrough said neighbors have complained about street level drug use and prostitution in their subdivision. Kimbrough said the problem with enforcement seemed to be a jurisdictional one.
"The problem house is right at the Fulton-Clayton line," he said. "Every time an officer patrolled, he would be hamstrung by the county line. Clayton would do what they could, Fulton would do what they could but it continued to be an eyesore."
Kimbrough said he reached out to colleagues in the Fulton County Police Department for assistance. The Fulton team was led by Lt. Reggie McCain, a former Clayton County sheriff's deputy.
"Today is an example of cooperation," said Kimbrough. "It works when we work it."
The resident of the house was cited by Fulton officers for possession of marijuana, said McCain.
"He also admitted to us that he lets prostitutes use his house as a base of operations," said Kimbrough. "They come in and take baths and go back and forth out to work. Now we know. We can let him know this is not a place to do his business."
McCain said the majority of residents in the subdivision have lived there for 30 years or more and are law-abiding citizens.
"They are used to quiet," he said. "It's very serene here. But you've got a lot of vacant properties that are rented to people with no ties. They don't really care about this community. This is personal to me as well, I grew up not far from here."
After that operation ended, deputies swarmed throughout the county serving warrants. Harrison said 14 arrests were made.
Tuesday, deputies flooded Hunter Ridge Mobile Home Community south of Jonesboro near Tara Boulevard. They arrested four people on drug charges.