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Badge and Bar: Cocaine trafficking charges dropped

POSTED: March 26, 2014 11:37 p.m.

Charges were dropped against a Norcross man accused of trafficking cocaine, while the Duluth man he was in the car with pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The two were arrested in February 2013 by the Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad after $7,200 in cocaine was delivered to the 4800 block of Golden Parkway in Buford.

Alex Xavier Billini of Duluth was charged with trafficking cocaine, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of marijuana, MANS Lt. Scott Ware reported at the time.

David Enrique Santiago-Irizarry of Norcross was charged with trafficking cocaine and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, as well as a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.

District Attorney Lee Darragh said when Billini pleaded guilty last month, information he gave officials exonerated his co-defendant Santiago-Irizarry. The facts of the case backed that exoneration, so the charges were dropped, Darragh said.

Santiago-Irizarry’s attorney didn’t return a phone call for comment.

Billini was sentenced to 10 years to serve and five on probation for the trafficking charge, 12 months to serve on the marijuana possession charge and five years on probation for possession of a firearm. The possession of cocaine with intent to distribute charge was dropped.

He’ll serve a total of 10 years in prison and another 10 on probation. Darragh said the mandatory minimum on the trafficking charge is 10 years. Billini was also fined $350,050.

Arson case moving forward

The case of a Gainesville man accused of setting a series of fires on Feb. 26 is now in the Superior Court’s hands following a Monday committal hearing.

Law enforcement authorities charged Zachary Dan Grissom, 21, with three counts of arson in the first, second and third degree, all felonies.

The arson investigation began when Gainesville police and fire officials, in conjunction with Hall County fire officials, responded to a car fire in the parking lot of Wal-Mart on Shallowford Road, a blaze at an abandoned house blocks away from the Wal-Mart and a dumpster fire at the Chick-fil-A restaurant, also on Shallowford.

According to arrest reports from the Hall County Jail, Grissom was also charged by Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies the same day with felony theft by taking, criminal trespassing, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a suspended license, unregistered vehicle and no proof of insurance. That case is also in Superior Court.

Emma Witman covers public safety issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:

ewitman@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/timesemmawitman

@EmmaWTimes


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