Burke County makes biggest drug bust in 6 years

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

December 9, 2006

It's the biggest drug bust in Burke County in over six years.

Over $100,000 worth of marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs were found at a home at 1032 Taylor Road in Keysville, about 10 miles from Waynesboro.

The Burke County Sheriff's Office first responded to the home Wednesday to investigate a home invasion. Once the attempted burglar was in custody, he spilled the beans on what he was after inside the home.

Bag after bag and box after box were filled to the brim with prescription drugs, marijuana and cocaine.

"I've been here six years and it's easily the biggest since I've been here," Sgt. Dedric Smith told News 12.

On Friday, deputies found over $100,000 worth of illegal drugs and semiautomatic weapons and thousands of dollars in cash at the home.

It all started Wednesday when Stephen Boyette reported a burglary at his home. The sheriff's office responded and arrested O'Neal Johnson.

"With him reporting the home invasion, that pretty much opened the door for the sheriff's office to get in," Sgt. Smith said.

Based on Johnson's information, the sheriff's office returned to Boyette's home...this time with a search warrant.

Boxes and boxes of mason jars were found throughout the house: in the bedroom, the attic, the closets and even the hallways. The jars were filled with marijuana mixtures. Marijuana was also found stuffed into pill bottles and even plastic bags.

"We were shocked," Sgt. Smith said. "To have each and every room of the house have a large amount of marijuana, a large amount of cocaine inside was a shock to each and every deputy that was there."

It took eight hours to search the home, and processing the drugs will take even longer.

"We spent hours weighing and testing the marijuana. At this point we ran out of test kits because it was such a massive amount."

Boyette faces two felony drug trafficking charges.

"No matter how long you may operate, sooner or later you're going to get caught," said Sgt. Smith. "You're going to make one mistake and that one mistake will be all it takes for us to put you away."

Authorities estimate they found between 150 to 200 mason jars with marijuana inside, mixed with herbs to suppress the smell. Under Georgia law, any mixture containing marijuana must be weighed in its entirety...so the added weight from the herbs will add weight to the charges Boyette will face.

Stephen Boyette is in a Burke County jail cell tonight. No bond has yet been set.

He has not been officially charged yet. The Burke County Sheriff's Office says those will come once their investigation is complete, and they expect that to happen towards the end of next week.


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