Eric Cortez Williams and Marty Homer Boatwright were arrested on Wednesday in the Lowes Parking lot culminating in a multiple agency investigation resulting in the seizure of 20 pounds of marijuana. In street value, that's about $90,000 worth of drugs.
Investigators with the Sumter County Sheriff's Office and Americus Police Department assisted the following agencies in this case that spanned over two and a half years: Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit, Dougherty County District Attorney's Office, Lee County Sheriff's Office, DEA, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Section.
Also seized at the time of the arrests was a 2000 Chevrolet Tahoe and more than $9,000.
"We've watched them over the last couple of day or the last couple days," says Albany Dougherty Drug Unit Major Bill Berry.
Boatwright was out on bond at the time of his arrest from Lee County relating to a 2009 drug trafficking case. Both Boatwright and Williams are being housed at the Sumter County Law Enforcement Center pending charges in the Sumter County case; charges at this time are trafficking in marijuana and use of a communications device to facilitate a felony.
Boatwright is identified by authorities as an upper level drug trafficker. They believe his arrest will interrupt a substantial drug trafficking network operating within the southwest Georgia but it may not be enough to break up other drug chains.
"I believe it's going to get worse on Highway 19 and also on Highway 82. It's just a matter of getting the proper people out there to find it and get it off the streets," said Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals.
Shortly after the arrests of Boatwright and Williams in Americus, authorities with Lee County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at Boatwright's residence in Lee County. Additional evidence was seized at the home that will be utilized in the prosecution of this case.
On Thursday, the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit (ADDU) conducted several search warrants in connection with this case.
Maj. Bill Berry with ADDU says they conducted search warrants at Extreme Wild Wings at S. Madison Street and Oakridge Drive along with a storage unit.
He says no drugs or guns were recovered from Extreme Wild Wings, but they did seize financial documents; Berry says they are currently going through those documents.
Nothing was seized during the search warrant on the storage unit, according to Berry.
Sheriff Pete Smith says he'd like to extend his appreciation for the hard work and cooperation by all agencies involved which led to these arrests. Sheriff Smith attributes the success of this investigation to the trust and communication efforts among the adjoining state, federal, and local agencies pulling together to achieve a successful common goal. Smith points out that these multi-agency investigations are the key to not only making arrests on this level, but to successfully prosecuting these cases.
Stay connected with FOX 31 News and our website, MySouthwestGa.com, as details develop.