published Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Whitfield County detectives raid meth operation

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Whitfield County sheriff's officials raided a meth trafficking operation Tuesday night, officials said.

During an investigation, detectives received information that a large illegal narcotics transaction was going to take place in a parking lot on Cleveland Highway on Tuesday afternoon, sheriff's spokesman Detective Ricky Swiney said.

While officers were doing surveillance of the location that night, a vehicle arrived in the parking lot with Jeffrey Lamar McGuire, 39, and Kenneth Scott Gribble, 48, Swiney said.

When officers approached the vehicle, McGuire tried to run but was caught after a short struggle, Swiney said.

Both men were taken into custody after meth was found in the vehicle, Swiney said.

After the arrest, officers searched a residence at 2502 Hill View Drive, recovered more meth and arrested April Michelle Barton, 39, according to Swiney.

Investigators seized more than a pound of meth with a street value of about $50,000 Tuesday night, he said.

All three were charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of tools for the commission of a crime, all felonies, he said.

McGuire -- who also was wanted for felony probation violation -- also has been charged with possession of marijuana, Swiney said.

The three defendants are being held without bond, he said.

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