RAY CITY -- Investigators seized the largest amount of marijuana in Berrien County history Tuesday afternoon when they served a search warrant at a residence here. Nine children at home when the bust occurred were turned over to the Department of Family and Children Services. Five men and women were taken into custody.

Narcotic investigator Riley O'Berry Jr. with the Berrien County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday that the seizure and arrests 560 Patricia Lane were a result of a six-month long investigation that isn't over.

More arrests are imminent, he said.

O'Berry said that 138 1/2 pounds of marijuana, $5,000 in cash and a 9 mm handgun were seized during the raid. O'Berry wouldn't release the names of those arrested.

"We have an ongoing investigation and we don't want to jeopardize that," O'Berry said.

O'Berry said it was disturbing that nine children between the ages of 10 months and 10 years were at the residence where the illegal drug operation was being conducted. No one was injured during the arrests.

In addition to various felony drug and weapon charges, the adults could face felony child endangerment charges.

Those arrested are being held at the Berrien County Jail.

Agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department assisted Berrien County in the investigation and arrests.

"It has been a joint operation and we have been sharing information," O'Berry said.

Agents seized 90 1/2 pounds of marijuana that had been compressed into bricks and 48 gallon bags of marijuana that contained one pound each.

O'Berry wouldn't disclose the origin of the marijuana because of the pending investigation.

According to Georgia law, anyone growing, delivering or possessing more than 50 pounds of marijuana faces felony trafficking charges. If the quantity of marijuana involved is in excess of 50 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds, the person convicted faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of seven years and is ordered to pay a $250,000 fine.



To contact reporter Angie Thompson, call 382-4321, ext. 208.

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