Drug bust in Ehrhardt

2008-12-20T01:00:00Z Drug bust in EhrhardtBy WENDY JEFFCOAT CRIDER, T&D Features Editor The Times and Democrat

EHRHARDT — Two men were arrested after a routine traffic stop led to the discovery of 14 pounds of marijuana, according to Police Chief James A. Preacher Jr.

Kenneth Edward Bailey, 22, and Joshua Lee Buice, 23, both of Atlanta have been charged with trafficking marijuana. They are being held at the Bamberg County Detention Center after Municipal Judge Franklin Gibson denied bond, Preacher said.

“They had a very extensive criminal history involving drugs. This is not their first offense,” Preacher said.

At approximately 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Ehrhardt Police Sgt. Dan Stroman stopped a 2008 Infiniti, driven by Bailey, for speeding on Lowcountry Highway in Ehrhardt, Preacher said. He said a second speeding car pulled up behind the Infiniti, claiming to be traveling with the car, and Stroman requested assistance.

When Stroman asked to see Bailey’s driver’s license, the suspect got out of the vehicle and began tussling with Stroman, Preacher said.

“He ran on me, because he was driving under suspension,” Stroman said.

Stroman and Ehrhardt Police Sgt. James Bearden secured the three remaining suspects, and units from Bamberg Police Department, Denmark Police Department and Bamberg County Sheriff’s Department helped secure the perimeter, Preacher said. He said Barnwell County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 unit quickly found Bailey hiding in a vehicle after trailing him through the woods along Lowcountry Highway.

“He ran out of his shoes,” Stroman said, adding that bloodhounds were able to track Bailey’s scent by using the shoes and coat left by the suspect. “The bloodhounds, they hit it, and it led them straight to him.”

Found in the Infiniti was an estimated 14 pounds of marijuana and $4,388 in cash, the police incident report said.

No drugs were found in the second vehicle, the incident report said. The two men traveling in that vehicle denied knowledge of the drugs and were charged with breach of peace and speeding, Stroman said.

“Everybody cooperated with us totally,” Preacher said of the law enforcement response to Thursday’s incident. “Since I have been chief in Ehrhardt, I cannot get over the cooperation of the other departments and other counties. If they had not responded, we could not have set up the perimeter like we did.

“We’ve got zero tolerance of drugs and theft, and violence, especially violence,” in Ehrhardt, he said.

Preacher said this is the largest drug bust the department has had since he became chief about a year ago. Estimated street value of the drugs is $25,000, he said.

“We’re not sure where they were headed,” Stroman said. “It’s a shame, a little old town like us, having this come through there.”

T&D Features Editor Wendy Jeffcoat Crider can be reached at wjeffcoat@timesanddemocrat.com or by phone at 803-533-5546. Discuss this and other stories online at TheTandD.com.

Copyright 2015 The Times and Democrat. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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