Richmond County police on Friday arrested a man they called one of the top drug distributors in the area.
"He's a very big drug distributor," sheriff's Lt. Robert Partain said. "He's on the top five."
Carlos Jermaine Hughes, 28, of the 1100 block of Walton Trail, was charged with trafficking in cocaine. No bond was set.
Lt. Partain said the arrest was made about 3:30 p.m. after officers executed search warrants at the Walton Trail home, off Willis Foreman Road, and at a home in the 1700 block of Apple Valley Drive. Lt. Partain said police found two kilos of cocaine, with a street value of about $150,000. They also seized six vehicles and between $200,000 and $250,000. Among the vehicles was a Dodge Charger, a Jeep Liberty and two Camaros.
"We've been investigating about a year and had some movement on several leads in the last six months," Lt. Partain said.
He said police believe Mr. Hughes was having multiple kilos of cocaine brought in monthly from the Atlanta area. He said it was then being distributed throughout the area, including Richmond, Columbia, Burke and Jefferson counties and possibly Aiken County.
"Obviously, this is a big drug distribution ring. ... We believe it (the arrest) will have an immediate effect right away," he said, but added that drug problems will continue.
Lt. Partain said that although Mr. Hughes was the main focus of their investigation, the sheriff's office has identified 10 to 15 people in the distribution network "that we'll probably target at a later date."
Those people are mostly in the south Augusta area, but some are in Atlanta, he said.
Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 823-3338 or firstname.lastname@example.org