More than 13 pounds of marijuana seized

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 6, 2002

The Drug Task Force (DTF), following six months of investigations, Friday arrested a Brantley man, charged with trafficking in marijuana n they located more than 13-lbs. of the weed on his property.

Agents with the multi-jurisdictional unit executed a search warrant at Gaines Auto Repair, in Brantley, after having made undercover purchases of marijuana from the business.

"We were able to make undercover purchases from Kenneth Walter Gaines, 35, of Taylor Road, Brantley, at his place of business," said DTF Agent Jason Powell. "We also received information that he had a large quantity of marijuana buried on his property."

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And so, with search warrant in-hand, the DTF, assisted by the Brantley Police Department and the Crenshaw County Sheriff's Department merged at the repair shop n on this visit, they brought specialized K-9 officers with them.

"The dogs indicated (which means they detected an odor of drugs) on Gaines' truck and also on his desk," Powell said. "There were bags containing marijuana at both of those locations."

But the best was yet to come. When officers looked around the premises, they noticed that an area of ground, just steps off from the building appeared to have been dug recently.

With the knowledge that there would be marijuana buried, the agents began investigating further.

"Poking a stick into the ground, we found that there was a metal container beneath the surface," Powell said. "The container ended up being a metal ammunition box, of the military-type, and inside of the box was a very large quantity of marijuana."

All together, more than 13.5 pounds of the illegal drug were located on Gaines' premises.

Gaines was arrested and charged with trafficking of marijuana, which, according to Powell, is a class "A" felony.

"It is a very serious felony charge," Powell said. "There could also be sentencing enhancements, resulting from the activity taking place within a close proximity of a school, and also a government-owned housing project."

Gaines was released later that day on a $75,000 bond.

Crenshaw County Sheriff Charles West was very proud of the efforts made by the Task Force and his officers.

"They've done a real good job," West said. "We are not going to let up n we will continue to be persistent against illegal drug activity in Crenshaw County."

Powell said if convicted, Gaines would face a mandatory minimum prison term of three years, with a fine of $25,000.

Agents estimate the street value of the marijuana at approximately $20,000.