By Angie Thompson



TIFTON -- Local officials continue to follow leads in an attempt to locate an Omega woman kidnapped Wednesday from her home.

Aracly Herrera, 33, was taken from her Hardy Avenue house by three or four Hispanic men Wednesday afternoon. The suspects left the residence in a black Jeep Grand Cherokee with tinted windows and "gold package" trim. The vehicle is believed to have had a Fulton County tag with the number 7887 ADB.

An investigator from the Colquitt County Sheriff's Office confirmed to The Moultrie Observer Thursday that Herrera is the sister of two men arrested for cocaine trafficking in Lee County earlier this month. During an undercover sting operation, Lee County drug agents arrested Jose Martinez, 28, and Luis Martinez, 23, both of Omega, for allegedly attempting to sell cocaine to another Omega man. Agents found $85,000 worth of pure cocaine in a 1997 Ford Mustang and they confiscated a Ford Expedition used in the incident and $3,000 in cash. Gerardo Marquez, 27, of Marietta and Randall Lee Howard, 23, of Omega, were also arrested in the sting. Tift County Sheriff Gary Vowell said he could not confirm or deny reports that Herrera's abduction was related to the Lee County arrests.

The local search Thursday concentrated on the Omega area.

"We are trying to track down some telephone numbers," Vowell said.

Vowell said he had "walked some creeks" in Tift and Colquitt County and had met with some of Herrera's family members along the way. The sheriff said he "had a feeling" that Herrera will be returned safely.

Vowell said investigators had learned the nickname of one of the suspects and followed a lead to a local motel.

"We learned that some Hispanic men were staying in a motel and they were driving a similar vehicle. But if it was them, they gave fictitious information when they registered," Vowell said.

A statewide alert has been sent to law enforcement agencies. Officials with the GBI are also investigating the kidnapping. A Georgia State Patrol helicopter was used to search the area Wednesday. Herrera was wearing blue jeans and Nike tennis shoes with green trim at the time of her abduction.

Members of Herrera's family in Colquitt County said late Thursday afternoon that they had received no more news about the progress of the search.

Vowell encourages anyone who have many information about the kidnapping to call the TCSO at 229-388-6020 or E-911 locally.



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

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