Valdosta Daily Times

August 21, 2013

Suspect nabbed in drug bust

‘Booms’ attract neighbors

By Dean Poling & Jason A. Stewart
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — A six-week investigation netted an arrest Tuesday morning during the issuing of a search warrant in what is described as a normally quiet Valdosta neighborhood, according to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

At approximately 8:30 a.m., some residents heard explosive sounds in their neighborhood off Jerry Jones Drive.

Lowndes County Sheriff’s Lt. Rob Picciotti said the department’s Special Operations Division used concussion devices as they entered the residence on the corner of Dellwood Drive and Young Drive. The lieutenant would not specifically identify these devices but did confirm they are explosive in nature, aid law-enforcement in entering a residence during the serving of a search warrant, are loud, and serve as a distraction.

“They aid us tactically when entering a home,” he said.

One neighbor said she was edging the grass on her curb when she heard “several loud booms that turned my attention in that direction. I saw this dark vehicle at the corner and a police car — SUV type, blue lights on. The booms brought out other neighbors. We all stood watching from a half block away.”

Also, gathering outside of the residence were members of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Operations Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Gang Task Force, and representatives from the Valdosta probation office.

On-site was the Special Operations Division’s armored BearCat assault vehicle, Picciotti said. BearCat stands for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck.

They gathered to serve a search warrant on the residence and serve outstanding bench warrants and probation violations for a suspect inside who was arrested at the scene and faces a bevy of new criminal charges.

Machari Nelson, 35, of Valdosta is charged with trafficking cocaine, trafficking methamphetamine, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of tools during the commission of a crime, Picciotti said. He was being held Tuesday in the Lowndes County Jail and was expected to be arraigned today.

Based on information received in early summer, authorities initiated an investigation into the suspect six weeks ago, Picciotti said.