The smell of marijuana led law enforcement officers to make several arrests Thursday during highway safety checks conducted by the Statesboro-Bulloch County Crime Suppression Team, Bulloch County Sheriff's Office, Statesboro Police Department and Georgia State Patrol.
Officers conducting a safety check in the Hopeulikit area at the intersection of U.S. Highway 25 and U.S. Highway 80 West stopped a car driven by Andre Raymond Ware, 39, of Burkhalter Road, "because of a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside of the vehicle," Sheriff Lynn Anderson said in a news release issued Friday.
Master Deputy Kirk McGlamery and his K-9 partner Max responded. When Max alerted deputies that the car contained narcotics, they found around 10 pounds of marijuana, the news release says. Ware was charged with marijuana possession with intent to distribute and was taken to the Bulloch County Jail.
Another car stopped during the safety check, from which the odor of marijuana emanated, was driven by James Williams, 26, of Paradise Road in Twin City, according to the news release. Officers found "multiple pills of MDMA (Ecstasy) and arrested Williams on charges of possession of MDMA with intent to distribute, the release says.
On the same day, during a traffic safety check conducted at the intersection of U.S. Highway 301 South and Interstate 16, an investigator spotted a semiautomatic handgun on the floor of a car stopped for a traffic violation, according to the news release.
After seeing the gun, a positive response from K-9 partners led officers to find "a little over a pound of high-grade marijuana which was vacuum sealed in multiple bags and wrapped in dryer sheets in an attempt to fool the narcotics detection dogs," Anderson said.
They also found a second semiautomatic handgun in the car, the release says.
Michael Wells, 22, and Stephen Northern, 22, both of South Main Street, were each charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. They were taken to the Bulloch County Jail.
Several other traffic-related arrests and citations were issued during the safety checks. Statesboro Police K-9 Advanced Patrol Officer Kyle Briley and his K-9 partner Rio also assisted in the safety checks.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.