Originally created 11/27/02

Police seize hundreds of sedatives



Drug agents confiscated hundreds of Valium and Xanax pills from an Augusta home Tuesday and arrested four people, authorities said.

The pills are being linked to an Atlanta distributor, and more arrests could follow, said Investigator Mathue Phares of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Working from tips, narcotics officers raided a home in the 1500 block of Stovall Street, off Wrightsboro Road, and found 785 Valium pills, 104 Xanax pills, 4 grams of powder Ecstasy, 2 grams of crystal methamphetamines and a small amount of marijuana, police said. They also seized $862 cash, which police suspect to be profits from drug sales.

"The quantity of pills is somewhat disturbing," Investigator Phares said. "They sell these at anywhere from $5 to $10 apiece."

James Dean Amelsberg, 26, and his girlfriend, Kristy Suzanne Davis, 23, both of the Stovall Street address, were charged with four felonies each, including possession of methamphetamines and possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy, Valium and Xanax. Both also were charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Two guests at the home, Chelsea Patrice Ryan, 18, of Central Avenue, Augusta, and Heidi Rae Medford, 19, of Dearing, Ga., were charged with possession of Valium.

Investigator Phares said it is the largest seizure of Valium and Xanax pills in the area. Police said these pill are a growing problem comparable to the widespread abuse of OxyContin, a strong narcotic pain reliever.

Valium and Xanax are sedatives often used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders, authorities said. They also can slow down brain activity. When a person stops using them the brain activity races out of control, which can cause seizures. Users can also develop a tolerance to the sedatives after long-term use.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.