HABERSHAM COUNTY, Ga. -- Three alleged meth traffickers were arrested this weekend, but police are searching for one more woman, the ring leader, accused of drug trafficking.
An investigation into meth trafficking across north Georgia led a local drug task force to three arrests, and a large stockpile in Duluth, Ga.--but they are still searching for the woman, who they say, is in charge of trafficking throughout north Georgia.
The Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office worked with the Habersham County Sheriff's Office, to arrest 36-year-old Jennifer Bone of Demorest, Ga., and 34-year-old Ronald Jones of Cornelia, Ga.
Police said they arrested Bone and Jones at a local Circle K store and found 56 grams of meth inside their car. Bone was allegedly selling the drugs for another person, 40-year-old Tonya Loudermilk of Duluth, Ga.
Clues led investigators to Gwinnett County, where the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant on Loudermilk's home at Highland Apartments on Satellite Boulevard.
Upon arrival, they did not find Loudermilk, but they did meet 40-year-old Derek Lynn Cagley, of Newnan, Ga., who was attempting to flush 2 kilograms of meth down the toilet.
He was arrested on site and taken to the Gwinnett jail.
Police recovered $20,000 from the residence.
All three were charged with trafficking meth.
Ken Howard, GBI Drug Taskforce’s assistant special agent in charge, assigned to Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office, said that he is familiar with Loudermilk because of multiple investigations in drug trafficking over past 2 ½ years.
Lately, he confirmed, she has been more involved as a figurehead in drug organizations.
“We identified her in the past year as an individual that was running a small sale, operating out of Gwinnett County, Ga., trafficking pound amounts of methamphetamine up to Habersham County and surrounding counties.”
She was trafficking from the Gwinnett County location for weeks. It was her home and base of operation, using motels along that I-85 corridor.
Multiple surveillance operations revealed that she was the connection between Gwinnett County and Habersham County drug dealers.
“We were intercepting ounces, up to a half pound of methamphetamine up here in north Georgia area that we were tracking back to Ms. Loudermilk,” Howard said.
But, he said, she began to feel the heat a couple of years ago.
“She knew we were looking at her and the investigation was getting close to her. That’s why she moved here – also convenient because her source of supply is also down here,” he confirmed, referring to Gwinnett County.
She remained there, but continued sending pounds of meth to the Habersham County. She did that, he said, by recruiting drug dealers from Harbersham County—where she still has friends and family.
“Those drug dealers would come down and meet her in the Gwinnett County area and possibly a little north from there.”
In fact, he said, for the last year the meth that they have been seizing in the Habersham County and the surrounding counties, were attributed back to Loudermilk.
Howard said, they believe she is still in Gwinnett County.
“If had to guess, I’d say she’s staying around that metro area. She needs money. She’s lost a significant amount of money based on this last investigation that we helped Gwinnett County with and I think she’ll try to recoup that money and continue to do business until we stop her,” Howard said. “There’s a lot of money at stake. A lot of drugs at stake and criminals tend to protect those assets through violence, intimidation.”
It’s not uncommon to see women take advantage of the lucrative aspect of trafficking, he said.
“For us here in north Georgia and in the Habersham County area, she’s a large trafficking target. She’s a big fish. But in metro area – she might be considered smaller network.”
Nabbing her will make a large dent in the drug scene north Georgia, he said.
“She’s a spoke in the wheel of a really, big problem nationwide, but for us here in Habersham County, and in the Roth, Ga., area, getting her will have an impact."
The search for Loudermilk is still underway. Once arrested, she will be facing charges of trafficking in both Habersham and Gwinnett counties.
© 2017 WXIA-TV