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Illegal booze, cigarette ring uncovered

Suspects charged for alleged sale of goods from Walthourville home

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POSTED: July 5, 2014 1:36 p.m.
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Michelle Bryant

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A Fort Stewart soldier and a woman face numerous charges after they were arrested Thursday for allegedly illegally selling alcohol and tobacco products from a Walthourville home.
According to Walthourville Police Chief Tracy McFadden, Sarrlie Coleman and Michelle Bryant were arrested without incident and face numerous charges stemming from the alleged illegal sale of alcohol and cigarettes from the soldier’s Talmadge Road residence. The apprehensions come after a four-month investigation.
McFadden said several complaints has been received at Walthourville City Hall regarding possible illegal activity at the residence. At the direction of Mayor Daisy Pray, a special investigation team was organized to look into the allegations made by residents of the neighborhood that alcohol and cigarettes were being sold from the home.
According to McFadden, authorities watching the house began to notice a high volume of foot traffic coming and going at various times throughout the day. After keeping the home under surveillance for several months, a purchase was made from the suspects, McFadden said.
The investigation, which was facilitated by the Walthourville Police Department with consultation from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, uncovered the alleged illegal sale of brand-name liquor by the shot and cigarettes.
After a serveral months-long operation, McFadden said the unit arrested Coleman and Bryant. The police chief, who couldn’t pinpoint the suspects’ relationship, said more arrests will be coming soon. There still are outstanding warrants for several suspects connected to this case.
McFadden said the city is not trying to keep residents from making money by operating home-run businesses; however, he stressed that citizens need to be aware of the zoning laws.
“We just can’t have illegal activity (going) on when there are liquor stores and convenience stores that sell these items legally and legitimately. This goes for any location in the city. If they want to sell things, whatever it may be, they have to go through the proper channels.”
Bryant is charged with one count each of the sale of alcohol without a license and the sale of untaxed cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or cigars to evade tax. Her cash-only bond was set at $3,500 on Saturday. Coleman is charged with two counts each of the same infractions and was denied bond Saturday. Both suspects possibly are facing more charges.

 

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