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Two out-of state busts tied to Lamar traffic stop

Drug busts in Florida and South Carolina resulted from a traffic stop initiated by Lamar County deputies on I-75 here. From An Everglades City couple is facing some serious drug charges stemming from an arrest in Georgia. Some residents we spoke to say they were shocked to hear the allegations. Carlos and Dulce Valdes own the Havana Cafe on Chokoloskee Island. And now the two are facing drug charges in Georgia. ”I was heart broken,” said Everglades City resident Lisa Marteeny. She said she was shocked after finding out just how serious those drug charges are. An arrest report from the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia shows it all started with a traffic stop on I-75 in Barnesville, Georgia. But deputies say when Carlos Valdes started acting nervous, they knew something was up. That’s when deputies say they ran Carlos’ name and found out he’s been the subject of three or more federal investigations for cocaine and smuggling cash. After searching the couple’s white Dodge pickup truck, deputies say they found four containers filled with cocaine and 34 bundles of marijuana. The couple told deputies the truck didn’t belong to them and that they were heading to Tennessee, then to Florida. Most people we spoke with didn’t want to go on camera and they say this arrest is rocking the small community. One woman went as far as saying she’s afraid the couple was possibly bringing drugs back to these streets. But Marteeny says the couple is loved in the community. ”It’s real easy to hate somebody that we don’t even know. But for it to be Carlos and Dulce within our community, that touches every heart,” she said. But, longtime Everglades City resident said, it’s still no excuse. ”It really shows the importance of what we’re doing in our community to over come our history of drug abuse problems,” said Marteeny. The couple has bonded out of jail and set to open their restaurant next month with most of the community standing behind them. From in Sparta, Tennessee (hat tip to Lee Otis Butler): Officers with White County Sheriff Department and agents from the 15th Judicial Task Force, in Jackson County, executed a search warrant at 583 West Bethlehem Road, in White County, at approximately 5 p.m., on Sept. 23, and reportedly found an elaborate marijuana-growing operation, as well as more than three pounds of packaged marijuana. According to White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe, 53 young plants were found in two grow rooms on the property that is located in the southern portion of the county. The grow rooms were reportedly equipped with sophisticated equipment to facilitate the growth and harvesting of the illegal plants. Officials seized a vehicle and a gooseneck trailer, along with the growing operation equipment, that included a filtered circulating water pumping system and timed lighting and carbon monoxide systems. The raid came after information was reportedly developed following a traffic stop in Lamar County, Ga., where four ounces of cocaine and 17 pounds of marijuana were found hidden in the vehicle. Carlos Valdes and Dolche Valdes were arrested in the Georgia incident, and Orelvys Morejon was arrested in Alan County Ky., as part of the ongoing investigation. Isom stated two operations were also located in Jackson County, Tn. that contained multiple bags of marijuana.

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