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Undercover investigation nets 14 drug arrests
Tony Hudson

Law enforcement officers arrested 14 people, all Gainesville residents, on drug-related charges Thursday.

The arrests primarily stem from an ongoing undercover drug operation between Barrow County and Hall County investigators, Lt. Scott Ware said.

“Every charge that was for ‘sale,’ such as for cocaine or methamphetamine, were sales to an undercover agent,” said Ware, who heads up the Multi Agency Narcotics Squad.

The other arrests — for possession of and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and methamphetamine — were separate drug investigations, Ware said.

Brandon Lee Whitmire, Tiffany Nicely, Deborah Randolph, Cynthia Richardson, Michael W. Reed, Tony Hudson, Riley James Monaghan, Theron Grayful Brown, Demetrius Stephens, James Edward Cantrell, Leanna Peggy Rucker, Shannka Bowman, Horace Lee and Howard Rucker were arrested during the operation.

One man charged with sale of cocaine by grand jury indictment, Cantrell, was already in custody. Cantrell is serving a prison sentence for violating a domestic order, and was indicted on the charge of escape after he eluded custody in July from the Hall County courthouse.

Cantrell, as well as the other five women and eight men, have been booked in the Hall County Jail.

Most of those arrested were planned targets, Ware said, but two were caught in the investigative process, found by investigators to be in possession of illegal drugs.

In addition to the arrests, agents seized quantities of marijuana, methamphetamine and one semi-automatic pistol, Ware said.

Although the volume of persons arrested was substantial, Ware said the quantities of drugs seized were relatively small, reaching dollar values in the hundreds.

“Generally the sales were relatively small amounts — several hundred dollars of cocaine and down,” he said.

The MANS unit and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office Warrants Division are still seeking 13 additional suspects.

“Either they’ve been indicted, or a regular arrest warrant has been taken out through Magistrate Court,” Ware said.

Ware said many of those arrested were on probation or parole and will subsequently face additional charges.

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