Father of infant in drug sale arrested

Police have arrested the father of the 7-month-old child who allegedly was nearly traded for drugs at an all-night crack party this weekend.

Michael Shane Jenkins, 38, was picked up by investigators at the Augusta Lodge on Gordon Highway on Tuesday, two days after he and the child's mother, 27-year-old Amanda Johnson, allegedly tried to sell their baby to a drug dealer, according to Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Kendall Brown.

The allegations have shocked and surprised those who battle Augusta's drug trade.

Veteran police say that as addictive as crack cocaine is, they have never heard of someone attempting to sell a baby for a fix.

"We've worked cases before where people talked about selling children, but nothing like this," said Maj. Ken Autry, a former narcotics investigator and current supervisor of the Richmond County sheriff's Criminal Investigative Division. "Never for drugs."

Ms. Johnson was arrested on charges of second-degree cruelty to children and reckless conduct Monday, police said. Mr. Jenkins faces the same charges. Their alleged attempt to sell the child prompted a friend to call a third woman to retrieve the baby. According to sheriff's domestic violence Investigator Grace Wittke, the third woman said "the baby reeked of crack cocaine, was listless and showed little emotion," when she picked him up Sunday.

The suspects have admitted to smoking crack cocaine with the child in the room, according to Investigator Brown.

Lt. Robert Partain, the head of the department's Narcotics Division, said addicts typically will loan or sell their vehicles to drug dealers to repay debts, but he has never seen someone try to sell a child.

"We've never had somebody come up and say that, or do that, or try that," Lt. Partain said.

Police are still searching for another man who was at the party. Ms. Johnson is apparently homeless and was working as a prostitute, according to police. She has another child who is not in her custody. The infant boy has been placed in the custody of the Richmond County Department of Family and Children and Services.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

HELP WITH DRUG PROBLEMS

There are many options for those with drug problems in the Augusta area. Some recommended by authorities include:

- Hope House Inc.: (706) 733-3463

- The Department of Family and Children Services: (706) 721-3000