Authorities Arrest Three in “Wake-up Call”

Local authorities say they hope a recent operation will serve as a wake-up call to those in the drug business.

Last Thursday, agents from the Mountain Judicial Circuit NCIS Team, the Toccoa Police Department, the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office, the National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, and State Probation executed a series of search warrants.

Dubbed “Operation Wake-Up Call,” Toccoa Police Department Chief Tim Jarrell said that law enforcement agents searched three different locations simultaneously.

“We were targeting three areas, which were Spring Street, Hughes Street, and Elberton Street,” said Jarrell, who added that authorities had information regarding suspected drug activity at those locations.

Authorities arrested three people on drug charges as a result of the operation.

According to authorities, 44-year-old Sidney P. Fortson of Toccoa was charged with one count of Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Distribute, one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and one count of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. In addition, 39-year-old Rozalin Collins of Toccoa was charged with one count of Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute and one count of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, while 23-year-old Matthew Mott of Toccoa was charged with one count of Possession of Marijuana Less than one ounce. Finally, two additional male subjects were arrested on outstanding warrants.

All five subjects remained in the Stephens County Jail as of Monday afternoon, according to Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley.

Shirley said that the searches netted a significant amount of drugs and more.

“As a result of the execution of those search warrants, we were able to seize about three pounds of marijuana with a street value of $13,500, two handguns, and approximately $5,000 in cash, as well as five vehicles,” said Shirley.

According to Jarrell, some of what was seized also came from a fourth location on Currahee Street that authorities then searched.

Shirley said authorities hope that this operation will cut down on drug activity in these particular areas.

Meanwhile, Jarrell said authorities are finding that drugs are the cause of many other crimes in Toccoa.

“We continue to find that so many other crimes that are occurring in our communities and on our streets in different neighborhoods, whether it be thefts, burglaries, domestics, we are finding it comes back to one element, a drug,” said Jarrell.

Jarrell went on to say he is very pleased at the teamwork and cooperation that went into this operation.

“We understand and we see that it is going to take more than just us to be able to do what needs to be done to be able to successfully fight the drug problem that we have in our community and it is going to take everyone working together to be able to put a dent in it and stop it from affecting the quality of life for everybody here,” said Jarrell. “What happens inside the city limits will eventually, at some point, affect the county and we are finding that is not only affecting us in Stephens County, but it is also going on to affect people in Habersham County, in Banks County.”

Shirley echoed those thoughts, calling it a team effort.

“When you have cooperation, everybody working together, you can accomplish a whole lot more and we are just thrilled that everybody in their respective agencies worked well on this together,” said Shirley.

The investigation remains ongoing.