Fleming's brother faces drug trafficking charges

The brother of state Rep. Barry Fleming is under indictment in federal and state courts on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine.

James Tyler Fleming, 53, is in the Richmond County jail awaiting trial. He was arrested Sept. 10 and charged with possessing more than 200 grams of methamphetamine.

Mr. Fleming faces a minimum 10-year prison sentence if convicted in Richmond County Superior Court. He faces charges that can be punished by 10 years to life in prison if convicted in U.S. District Court.

"I have seen firsthand what drug addiction can do to someone's life," his brother, Barry, said Thursday in his Atlanta office.

"It has made me want to redouble my efforts to not only help people get out of drug addiction because it can ruin your life but also, as a lawmaker, make me want to do everything I can to pass laws to stop the infiltration of illicit drugs in our society, whether it be marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, you name it."

Barry Fleming, the Republican majority whip, has served in the state House of Representatives since 2002. He is challenging U.S. Rep. Paul Broun for the 10th Congressional District seat later this year.

In the Georgia House, Mr. Fleming serves on several committees, including the judiciary committee. Among the legislation he has sponsored is House Bill 793, which seeks to establish a Georgia Methamphetamine Offender Registry.

James Fleming faces trafficking and conspiracy charges in federal court with several others, including Marya Tapp.

Ms. Tapp, who already had one drug conviction, cooperated with authorities after a second arrest on drug charges in July, and she helped agents make other arrests.

Her case has developed several twists with prosecutors and defense attorneys trading allegations of misconduct.

The lead investigator in the case was forced to resign in November when he admitted he was having an affair with Ms. Tapp while she was working as a confidential informant.

Because of that revelation, the charges are on hold against James Fleming and five others who were indicted with Ms. Tapp in October.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.