The following press release has been issued by Clay County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
According to Sheriff Davis, on Saturday September 23, 2017, a Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy stopped a vehicle in the parking lot of Ingles for a traffic violation. The driver did not have his driver’s license on him, so during a check of his license status a Sheriff’s K9 was deployed.
The K9 gave a positive alert to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle. The driver was asked to get out of the vehicle. When he did he removed his hand from his pocket and dropped a bag of what appeared to be methamphetamine. He was arrested and another bag was found in his other pocket.
The contents of both bags were tested in a roadside kit, both testing positive for methamphetamine and each bag weighed approximately 3.5 grams.
Michael Dean Byers, 45 of Warne, was arrested and charged with Felony Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He has already made a $10,000 bond and had a September 25, 2017 court date.
Sheriff Davis said this is another example of the K9s making a positive impact on the county; with their help we were able to get more drugs off the street.
On Tuesday, September 20, 2017, Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office and FBI Agents executed additional search warrants in Dahlonega, Georgia at 289 Iberian Road and 126 Antique Way based on the analysis of the evidence seized Friday. Agents discovered that the residence on Iberian Road had been destroyed by fire. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating this suspicious fire as an arson. Agents located a second conversion lab at Antique Way. The lab components found at Antique Way were consistent with the lab found in Suches, GA last week. The exception is Agents located seven empty 55 gallon drums, three of which tested positive for methamphetamine. Agents also located two AR-15 rifles, a pistol grip shotgun and a handgun. It is fair to say that this North Georgia Law Enforcement Team has dismantled a criminal organization that at a minimum has produced and distributed 385 gallons of methamphetamine onto the streets of our communities. Conservatively, this equates to hundreds of kilograms of crystal methamphetamine. The street value of this amount of methamphetamine is in the millions.
Both of these properties were linked to Clara Catarino Mendoza, 32. Mendoza is a Hispanic female, 5’1” tall and weighs 125 pounds. Agents believed that Mendoza has fled with her 2 juvenile children. Mendoza is a fugitive from justice. Arrest warrants have been issued on Mendoza for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine. Mendoza may be driving either a 2006 yellow H2 hummer, Georgia tag PYX 5020, a 2003 gray Ford Superduty Truck, Georgia tag PKM 9409 or a White BMW 4 door sedan (exact model and tag unknown). If anybody sees Mendoza or has any information on her please call the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office at 706-864-3633, the GBI at 1-800-597-8477, the FBI at 1-800-225-5324 or your local police department or sheriff’s office.
September 16, 2017
On Friday, September 15th, 2017, the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office, the FBI’s North Georgia Major Offender Squad and the DEA disrupted a methamphetamine trafficking ring in North Georgia. A traffic stop of Angel Luis Rivera- Santiago and Victor Rafael Aponte yielded the seizure of 15 kilograms of methamphetamine. During the subsequent investigation, Lumpkin County authorities and FBI Agents executed a search warrant at 990 Flanders Road, Dahlonega, GA. Valentine Duarte- Vejar ran from this residence but was capture in the possession of a handgun. This search warrant yielded a few grams of cocaine and $166,000. Agents continued to follow investigative leads until a conversion lab was located at 843 Cooper Creek Road, Suches, GA. A conversion lab is used to convert liquid methamphetamine to its crystal form. Agents located a handgun and 15 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at the lab. ARDEO Agents processed approximately 300 pounds of environmental waste largely containing methamphetamine oil. Agents on scene estimated this lab was capable of producing a minimum of 25-50 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at a time. The Union County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, and Fire Department assisted with safely processing this conversion lab. This short but effective investigation was a federal, state, and local partnership that disrupted and dismantled a drug distribution network’s attempt to flood our communities with this destructive drug for their own financial gain. The street value of the 30 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine is $3,234,000.
Angel Luis Rivera- Santiago, 42, of Norcross, Victor Rafael Aponte, 30, of Dahlonega and Valentine Duarte-Vejar, 25, of Dahlonega were charged with trafficking methamphetamine. Eleoncio Perez-Pineda, 29, of Dahlonega, and Jose Mario Duarte-Vejar, 25, of Dahlonega were later arrested in Dahlonega and charged with conspiracy to manufactory methamphetamine. These five men were transported to the Lumpkin County Detention Center. The immigration status of these men is still pending. Additional charges are pending in Union County. This investigation continues.
ARDEO encourages citizens to report any suspicious drug activity via IM or at 706-348-7410 or contact your local Sheriff’s Office or Police Department.
The Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office is a multi-agency unit that consists of the following Sheriff’s Offices: White County, Lumpkin County, Towns County, Banks County, Habersham County, Stephens County, Rabun County and Franklin County, along with the Cleveland Police Department, Lavonia Police Department, the Georgia National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, the Department of Public Safety,, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Towns County Sheriff’s Investigators arrested a 16-year-old male juvenile on September 20th, charging him with one count of Criminal Attempt to Commit Murder, one count of Aggravated Assault, and one count of Aggravated Battery.
The charges came after deputies responded to an assault call at a residence on Cassie Lane in Hiawassee. When deputies and EMS arrived on scene, a 48-year-old male was discovered at the home severely injured. The victim was airlifted from the scene to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he was admitted to the hospital. A lookout was issued for a juvenile suspect believed to have been involved in the assault. A Clayton Police Officer on his way to work heard the lookout and spotted the juvenile on Highway 76 near the Towns County/ Rabun County line. The juvenile was taken in custody without incident.
Upon completing an investigation into the reported incident, Towns County Sheriff’s investigators arrested the 16-year-old juvenile suspected of attacking his father with a hatchet.
Sheriff Clinton would like to commend all those responding to the incident for their quick response, cooperation, and apprehension of the juvenile suspect. Towns County Sheriff’s Deputies, Hiawassee Police, Clayton Police, Towns County EMS, and Towns County Fire and Rescue personnel all responded.
The case will be forwarded to the Enotah District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
The following press release has been issued by Clay County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
After an extensive manhunt, Sheriff Davis is pleased to announce the apprehension of Robert C. Parker.
Monday morning started off with investigators following up on the larceny of a Polaris UTV, when another report of a larceny came in; this time it was a Kubota Tractor. Evidence for both was pointing to the fact that Parker was involved. Thankfully both the UTV and the tractor were recovered Monday morning said Sheriff Davis.
While investigators were processing the scene where the UTV was recovered near Young Harris, a Silver Mustang pulled up and a man with a shaved head was driving it, but he quickly left the area. Deputies had just received information that Parker would possibly be in a Silver Mustang without a license plate, and they had confirmed that he had shaved his head. Georgia law enforcement was notified and a combined effort to locate the vehicle failed.
This same afternoon, deputies responded to a break in at a residence on Hwy 64 East. A man by the name of Robert Byrd was discovered there and arrested for misdemeanor breaking and entering.
As deputies were leaving that scene a Silver Mustang with no tag displayed drove by; the driver had a shaved head. Knowing Parker has a tendency to run, the deputy waited until other deputies were in the area before trying to stop the vehicle, but that did not work out. The vehicle turned onto Ledford Chapel and the deputy followed behind, in front of the church the vehicle turned around and came back toward Hwy 64 at a high rate of speed. The deputy turned on his blue lights in an attempt to stop the vehicle but it went off the side of the road and kept going onto Hwy 64.
Deputies maintained sight of the vehicle onto Downings Creek Road, but lost him there. A short time later, deputies located the vehicle on Peckerwood Road and another chase ensued. After a short chase, deputies lost the vehicle again, but later spotted the male running up the side of the mountain on Cold Branch Road.
A perimeter was set up and road checks were put in place while deputies waited for a blood hound from Union County to track the suspect. The K9 arrived but eventually lost the track, but it did send deputies in the direction to focus their search.
After three hours of searching, a vehicle pulled up to a check point on Tusquittee Road where a male identified as Parker jumped out and ran into the woods up the mountain. Deputies chased him back down the mountain and through a field. Deputies were able to coordinate and box Parker in, and after a short altercation he was taken into custody off of Stamey Cove Road.
Parker was arrested and served the outstanding warrants he already had: Felony Larceny, Felony Possession of Stolen Goods, Two Counts of Felony Flee to Elude Arrest, Felony Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Four Counts of Resisting Public Officer, and Failing to Heed Light or Siren. He is currently being held in the Clay County Detention Center under a $100,000 bond, and has a September 26, 2017, court date. Other charges are pending in this matter.
Sheriff Davis wants to express his gratitude to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, Towns County Sheriff’s Office, and Union County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Davis said, “We have been looking for Parker for some time now, but have really focused efforts over the past week. Without the cooperation and assistance of these other agencies this would never have happened.”
Sheriff Davis wanted to also take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Clay County for the tips and information they have provided while looking for Parker, and for their cooperation and understand during the road checks yesterday that led to his apprehension.
It’s September in the hills when Western Carolina University’s fall foliage forecaster Beverly Collins attempts to quantify the quality of the annual color show in Western North Carolina through a scientific-based prediction. And Collins is anticipating a good display across the mountains this year.
Each fall, the region’s autumnal colors emerge as chlorophyll in leaves breaks down, revealing pigments that were hidden by the green.
“I think it will be a colorful fall this year,” said Collins, a professor in WCU’s Department of Biology. “If we have a typical fall with bright, sunny days and cool nights in mid- to late-September and a cold snap in early October, chlorophyll will fade and the other pigments will be exposed, giving us the bright colors. The warm, wet spring and most of the summer has been ideal for photosynthesis. Under those conditions, plants make abundant chlorophyll and associated leaf pigments, such as yellows, oranges and reds, to produce sugars.”
The peak color around WNC could arrive around the second and third week in October, depending on elevation, she said.
The much-anticipated fall color season is important for a region that benefits from travel and tourism, said Steve Morse, economist and director of the Hospitality and Tourism Program in WCU’s College of Business. “We consider the fall foliage tourist season to be primarily an October event ― and October is the highest month for tourist spending in WNC,” Morse said. “Many mountain locations are hosting major fall festivals and events, including all-star celebrity concerts at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort.
“We predict a 3 to 4 percent growth in 2017 October tourist spending over 2016 October tourist spending,” he said. “While we know the Aug. 21 solar eclipse brought many first-time visitors to WNC, many of these visitors may be second-time visitors for the fall foliage season.”
Morse said a factor that could affect October visitation in a good way is stable gas prices and supplies in the Southeast, especially in major tourism feeder markets including Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and Knoxville.
As WCU’s leaf color prognosticator, Collins follows in the steps of Dan Pittillo, retired professor of biology, and Kathy Mathews, current associate professor of biology. Collins, who earned master’s and doctoral degrees in botany at Rutgers University, has researched and written extensively about forest and plant ecology. “From a scientific perspective, as a botanist and ecologist, I understand how many factors contribute to plant responses such as leaf color change and how variable and unpredictable factors such as weather are,” she said.
And several variables may still come into play. A few conditions could make the fall less colorful, Collins said.
· An active hurricane season that affects WNC – A windstorm could knock leaves off trees and thin the fall canopy. The remnants of Hurricane Irma that moved through the mountains Sept. 11-12 blew off some foliage in spots, especially at higher elevations, but did not have a widespread negative impact, Collins said.
· Herbivores – A good year for photosynthesis means a good year for insects that feed on leaves. For example, folks have been noticing the recent fall webworm outbreak, especially on black walnut, cherry and black locust trees. Herbivores can eat holes in leaves, cause them to turn brown and fall, or even defoliate an entire tree. However, WNC’s diversity of tree species means herbivore effects are usually spotty over the landscape.
· Above-normal temperatures through fall – Although the decreasing daylight hours in fall are the primary cue for plants to make less chlorophyll, continued warm temperatures can slow down color change.
The following press release has been issued by Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Murphy, NC— Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced the September 04th, 2017, arrest of 47 year old Jerry Lee Hobs, who gave a Cherokee County, North Carolina address.
On or about September 05th, 2017 the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a sexual assault in which Jerry Lee Hobbs was identified as the suspect. During the investigation, information was gathered that allowed the investigator to develop probable cause which was presented to the North Carolina Magistrate who issued a warrant for the arrest of Hobbs. Also during the investigation, information was obtained that Hobbs was staying at a camping site in the Ranger Community near Beach Creek where Hobbs was arrested without incident and brought to the Cherokee County Detention Center for processing.
Hobbs is currently in custody at the Cherokee County Detention Center under a $100,000.00 secure bond for the charge of Forcible Rape. Hobbs is scheduled to appear in Cherokee County District Court on January 25.
Because of the sensitive nature of the incident no further information is expected to be released from this office.
Sheriff Palmer stated, “This is a very personal crime and I am glad to see it come to a close quickly. Although a heinous crime, a bright spot you might say is that our Victim Advocate Office and Reach of Cherokee County Inc. worked hand in hand to provide much needed services in this difficult situation.”
Sheriff Palmer encourages anyone that has information on this crime or any other to report it. To report crime in Cherokee County you can call the anonymous tip line at 828-837- 1344 or email a tip at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 911 if you observe a crime in progress.