Sheriff's family members arrested on marijuana charges


News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Sept. 23, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Three men in court today after being arrested for trafficking marijuana over the weekend.

Walter Taylor Hensley, James Derek Hurt and Kenneth Whittle were picked up along I-20 after a deputy pulled them over for following too closely.

It started as a traffic stop at mile marker 196 along I-20, but deputies say when they walked up to the car, they smelled something suspicious.

"They say they detected the odor of marijuana and also allegedly obtained the consent to search the vehicle," explained the judge in court.

That's when officers found more than 20 pounds of marijuana in a toolbox inside the truck, a stash worth nearly $6,000 per pound on the streets.

"20.22 pounds of marijuana. They field tested part of that," described the judge.

According to the incident report, "all three subjects knew they were driving to California to pick up marijuana to bring back to Augusta."

It was a road trip back to a town these three call home. In fact, Hensley and Whittle are the nephews of Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle.

Today in court, they faced a different enforcer of the law.

"Sept. 20 you allegedly committed the offense of trafficking marijuana. It's a felony violation of the law," read the judge.

Now, all three face felony charges of trafficking marijuana.

According to court records, this isn't Hensley's first run-in with the law. Back in 2010, he was charged with possession of marijuana.

Today in court, the judge transferred all three cases to Superior Court to determine bond.

Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- News12 has confirmed with the Columbia Co. Sheriff's Office that two of the three men arrested last night with marijuana on I-20 are family members of Sheriff Clay N. Whittle.

Kenneth Whittle, 25, Walter Taylor Hensley, 24, and James Hurt, 26, were arrested on drug trafficking charges. Hurt is not related to Sheriff Whittle.

The men were stopped by the Richmond County Drug Task Force with 20 lbs of marijuana.

News12 is working on confirming more details at this time.


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