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Hephzibah commission chairman's son gets probation for trafficking cocaine

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 7:07 PM
Last updated Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 1:44 AM
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The son of Hephzibah’s City Commission chairman, caught with more than two ounces of cocaine, was spared the usual mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence Wednesday for trafficking the drug.



John Buchwitz, 21, pleaded guilty in a Richmond County Superior Court courtroom packed with supporters Wednesday morning in a plea negotiation approved by District Attorney Ashley Wright.

Judge J. Wade Padgett accepted the plea agreement for a 10-year probation sentence with 180 days in the probation detention center, and a $25,000 fine. He granted defense attorney Victor Hawk’s request to sentence Buchwitz under the First Offender Act.

“Make no mistake about it,” Padgett told Buchwitz, “you are a drug dealer.” It’s ironic that everyone screams about locking up drug dealers and throwing away the key unless it’s someone they know, the judge said.

On May 14 in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart on Deans Bridge Road, Buchwitz sold 10 grams of cocaine to a confidential informant, Assistant District Attorney Adam Land said. The next day, in the same parking lot, Buchwitz arrived with 59.6 grams for a meeting with the informant, whom Buchwitz believed intended to pay him $2,000 for two ounces.

Buchwitz, the son of Hephzibah commission member Robert Buchwitz, admitted to investigators that he had sold cocaine before and this time intended to profit by $200.

In the past 10 years in Richmond County Superior Court, 247 people facing trafficking cocaine charges have pleaded guilty or have been convicted of felonies, according to court records analyzed by The Augusta Chronicle. About a third – 89 defendants – got probation; the rest did prison time. Of those sentenced to straight probation terms, only 2 percent pleaded guilty to trafficking in cocaine. The rest pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute the drug or simple possession.

In Georgia, trafficking cocaine at the amount Buchwitz intended to sell is a crime punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison and a $200,000 fine.

Trafficking cocaine requires a minimum 10-year prison term except in cases where the prosecutor requests a reduction because of substantial assistance rendered to police.

Wright said the exception was used in Buchwitz’s case. Neither his father’s political standing nor the family’s position in the community had any bearing on her office’s request for the judge to depart from the mandatory minimum sentence, Wright said.

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myfather15
56765
Points
myfather15 08/22/13 - 08:57 am
2
1
Thauch12

"Simple economics would tell you that decriminalizing drugs would solve some of our problems. The reason why drugs are so valuable in the first place is because it has been pushed to the black market."

Yes, just like it did for alcohol and tobacco, right?

Few weeks ago we caught two guys headed to NY with over 600 cartons of illegal cigarettes (name brand/Newport and Marlboro) in a rented mini van!! Just because you don't KNOW it's happening, doesn't mean it isn't!!

Do you honestly believe the black market for these products is gone?

nanowerx
1394
Points
nanowerx 08/22/13 - 09:01 am
5
2
...

While I am not in support of jail time for drug offenses, it is quite the BS that hundreds are serving serious jail time while this guy gets daddy to help him out of it.

I wouldn't be able to get a deal like this even if I had only 2 ounces of weed, much less Coke. The good ole boy system is still loud and proud. Again, I don't support jail time for drug offenses, but I hate double standards just as much.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 08/22/13 - 09:03 am
0
0
If you
Unpublished

believe the D.A.'s office then you won't mind letting me have "the Patch" for free, giving me $20,000,000.00 to repair it and I'll have you playing it yesterday.

Delirious58
63
Points
Delirious58 08/22/13 - 09:19 am
3
4
When u white you're right

Typical of the system in Augusta. White boy sells drugs and go free. Black boy sells drugs, get time in prison.

myfather15
56765
Points
myfather15 08/22/13 - 09:32 am
3
2
So Buchwitz is white? I have

So Buchwitz is white? I have no idea who he or his daddy is; and have no clue if he is black, white, purple, pink or blue!! I couldn't care less, he deserved 10 years, TO SERVE!!

Itsallnew11
547
Points
Itsallnew11 08/22/13 - 10:04 am
3
2
He's no better than anyone else

He should have been sentenced just as "jo blow" would have been. This right wing politics is for the birds. Just because his daddy is in a position of authority doesn't mean his child should be more priveleged than anyone who's daddy isn't. A drug dealer is a drug dealer no matter who their daddy is.

Little Lamb
49030
Points
Little Lamb 08/22/13 - 10:41 am
1
0
Illegal Cigarettes

I'm puzzled by this one. I know New York has passed laws that make it illegal to sell (I don't know about the buyer) cigarettes that have tax stamps from another state.

But I didn't know it was illegal in Georgia to transport cigarettes with tax stamps from another state. That sounds kind of harsh.

Can you enlighten me, MyFather?

myfather15
56765
Points
myfather15 08/22/13 - 11:19 am
1
0
It's a federal crime to

It's a federal crime to transport cigarettes across State lines; the case was turned over to ATF. We filed no State charges on the cigarettes, however, they did go to jail for a misdemeanor amount of marijuana in the vehicle. ATF placed a hold on them for their investigation.

Little Lamb
49030
Points
Little Lamb 08/22/13 - 11:54 am
1
1
Thanks

Wow! Thanks for the info. You would think that ATF would have more important things to do. But what do I know?

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 08/22/13 - 12:09 pm
0
0
AGAIN, It just goes to show,
Unpublished

MONEY talks,
##@@#$#@ walks!

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 08/22/13 - 12:12 pm
0
0
myfather15
56765
Points
myfather15 08/22/13 - 12:32 pm
1
1
ATF won't touch it unless

ATF won't touch it unless it's a LARGE amount, which 600 cartons caught their attention!! Believe it or not, black market cigarettes are a HUGE business!! We've caught MANY running cigarettes!!

When cigarettes are going for up to $14.00 a PACK in New York City; and you can get them here for less than 3 dollars a pack, buying in BULK; you can make a lot of money taking a large amount of cigarettes up north!!

So, lets do some simple math.

600 Cartons is 6000 packs of cigarettes.
You buy them here for STORE PRICE at $5.00 per pack=$30,000.00
You sell them in NY City for STORE PRICE at $12.00 per pack=$72,000.00
You just made a $42,000.00 profit for one trip to NY City!!

That is ASSUMING you paid STORE PRICE; which if you're buying on the black market, you will NOT; it's going to be more like $3-4 a pack when buying in BULK!! Many of the cigarettes you're buying are going to be stolen, usually from big trucks!!

Now, that's also assuming you sell them for $12 a pack; which you could possibly get more!! But on average, you are going to make a LOT of money on ONE trip up north!! Because NY City is not the only area where cigarettes are high!!

zazzy43
47
Points
zazzy43 08/22/13 - 03:53 pm
1
0
I can't believe the media was

I can't believe the media was allowed into this sentencing particularly where an individual has rendered substantial assistance to law enforcement. This means he helped get quite a few other people arrested (which the law allows him to do to avoid the mandatory minimum jail time; so don't blame the prosecutors, judges or defense attorneys) I hope this man does not suffer any repercussions as a consequence of his assistance to the police.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 08/22/13 - 03:59 pm
0
0
something is very "fishy"
Unpublished

something is very "fishy" here he gets caught with 2 ounces of cocaine and get probation and the judges sez that his name/family had no influence and gives him first offender status...i think the GBI and the state atty general's office needs top get involved, it looks like judge padgette will be getting a hefty political donation come next election and he got a "thick and heavy" white envelope after his sentence.....this guy is a mid-level dealer and he will go back to his stash and take up where he left off..he should have been squeezed to give up his higher level contact or given 10 years for distribution

gargoyle
20856
Points
gargoyle 08/22/13 - 05:35 pm
1
0
Has soon as he didn't go to

Has soon as he didn't go to jail after getting caught he became a target in his social circle. The folks he runs with or ran with know they might have a target on their back. His hope for a normal life might be to put distance between him and the CSRA.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 08/22/13 - 06:33 pm
2
0
Dope
Unpublished

If Robert Buchwitz is OK with throwing his careear away using his position to save his son, that is OK with me. If the voters of Hephzibah are willing to throw their future away by re-electing him, that is OK by me too. Vote people, vote!!!!1

corgimom
38385
Points
corgimom 08/23/13 - 05:15 am
0
0
What gets me is that the

What gets me is that the "courtroom was packed with his supporters". He's a common scummy drug dealer, a criminal. Who would be supportive of that?

AutumnLeaves
10253
Points
AutumnLeaves 08/23/13 - 03:22 pm
0
0
Could "supporters" mean

Could "supporters" mean people that enable him, buy from him, are co-dependent on him, and/or are supported by him? Can't imagine who else would support him unless they are simply family and life-long friends.

LynnJackson10
4
Points
LynnJackson10 08/28/13 - 10:27 am
0
0
It is absolutely ridiculous

It is absolutely ridiculous to how many accusations are being made on this man. Why don't you look into your facts before you post non-sense. Every person sentences that day and many other days received the same sentence , if not less. Those of you who speak so highly of judge padgett know he is a man of his word and a man of the book and he sentenced John to fit. John, like many, got caught in the wrong crowd and made adult decisions he IS in fact paying for. The crime was committed long ago when John was in his youth and has stepped up to being a man and taken proper steps to be involved in the community and his church (on his own terms; not court ordered OR lawyer advised) in his growth to a man. His fathers presence and title was made very clear to have little to no influence on the sentence.
SHAME on the media and the paper for leaking information on his cooperation with the district to bring justice to those doing wrong. The danger alone that puts him and his family in is unspeakable. I do not know this man personally but I have done my research and I will say this to his family: He and you all are in mine and my small groups prayers!

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