Two Augusta men face federal drug trafficking charges



Two men who run an Augusta nightclub are facing federal drug trafficking charges, according to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court.

Latron R. Ware and Abdul J. Mack were arrested Wednesday by federal Drug Enforcement Agen­cy officers and taken to the Rich­mond County jail, sheriff’s officials said.

According to an indictment filed July 11, Ware, Mack and Cleveland D. Hall II are charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

The indictment says the three conspired to possess and distribute cocaine as far back as January 2006. Ware and Mack operate the Three Dollar Lounge at 1524 Gordon Highway.

The case appears to stem from the Jan. 26, 2011, arrest of Hall by Warren County authorities. According to a Warren County Superior Court indictment filed in July 2011, Hall, of College Park, Ga., was charged with obstructing a law enforcement officer, possessing more than 200 grams of cocaine and driving a car with a secret compartment used to conceal drugs.

Toombs Circuit District Attor­ney Dennis Sanders said he suspended prosecution of the Warren County case after federal authorities got involved.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Durham said he could not comment on how the case developed or whether there was any connection to the Three Dollar Lounge.

Ware has held the alcohol license at the establishment since July 2010, said Rob Sherman of Augusta Planning and Development.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Elim said the sheriff’s office had pulled officers from working any special duty at the club. Elim said the sheriff’s office is cooperating with federal investigators and waiting to see whether further allegations arise.

“If something is to have been alleged to have been involved in the club, we will take action there,” he said.

Durham said Ware and Mack had an initial appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court and are expected to have detention hearings next week, at which time they can ask for bond. The three men are being held in separate detention facilities in three nearby counties, federal officials said.