Originally created 02/04/05

Across Georgia



Drug agency seizes 125 pounds of meth

ATLANTA - The Drug Enforcement Administration said Thursday it seized 125 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in DeKalb County with a street value that ranged from $4.5 million to $12.7 million depending on how it was packaged for sale.

"We are seeing more and more ice," said Sherri Strange, special agent in charge for the DEA.

"It's the most highly addictive form of methamphetamine. It's cocaine times 10."

Two men were charged with narcotics conspiracy - Roberto Zavala 48, of Harlingen, Texas, and Jose Jesus Alvarez-Coria, 25, of McAllen, Texas.

Special Agent Strange said the DEA is concerned with the increase in reports of meth and ice being sent to the Atlanta area for local consumption, distribution and shipment to other areas of the nation.

Jurors start deciding fate of preacher

ROME - Jurors will begin deliberating today the fate of a north Georgia preacher accused of bilking hundreds of churches in a fast-growing pyramid scheme that netted nearly $9 million in just more than a year.

Attorneys delivered closing statements Thursday in Abraham Kennard's monthlong fraud trial. Mr. Kennard, 46, faces 132 charges in connection with a plan prosecutors said took advantage of a tight network of more than 1,600 small, black churches in 41 states.

"I know you can see clearly it was a scheme, all right. And for some 1,600 churches, it was a nightmare," Assistant U.S. Attorney David McClernan told jurors during closing arguments.

"When he convinced them to give their money, he lied to them, he gained their trust, and then he betrayed them," Mr. McClernan said.

Memo says assistant covered up violence

ALBANY - An assistant principal says his boss ordered him to conceal teacher violence against pupils at an Albany middle school where a teacher was charged last month with attacking a pupil.

The Albany Herald newspaper and television station WALB obtained a memo written by Billy Orr, assistant principal at Radium Springs Middle School, under the state's Open Records Act. The newspaper ran the story Tuesday and the station aired its story the next evening.

Mr. Orr's memo to the school's principal, Geraldine Hudley, lists eight alleged attacks by teachers on pupils at the school and implied that Ms. Hudley had ordered him not to report the attacks.

School Superintendent Sally Whatley is investigating the allegations.

She declined Thursday to comment on her investigation, but said abuse of pupils "would never be a part of the way we operate."