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SATURDAY, JANUARY 13, 2007
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Record drugs seized in raid on business

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

Narcotics agents arrested four people and seized a record amount of drugs during a raid on a business, Decatur police said Friday.

The Organized Crime Unit made its largest methamphetamine bust ever when it searched Shelton Heating and Air Conditioning, 3212 Sexton Road S.E., on Thursday, turning up 19 ounces of meth and 14 ounces of marijuana, said Investigator Matt Chance. Agents also found cocaine, cash and paraphernalia for drug sale and use, he said.

Gene Paul Southern Jr., an employee of the business, was inside when agents went in, Chance said.

Southern, 42, of 2230 Graham Avenue S.W., faces charges of trafficking meth, possessing a controlled substance, first-degree possession of marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Southern was out of jail on bond. Police had arrested him on two separate drug trafficking charges earlier this week after officers found him asleep behind the wheel of a car containing 9 ounces of meth, four pounds of marijuana, $10,000 cash, a meth pipe and a .22 caliber pistol, police said.

A later raid on 2230 Graham Avenue Apartment No. 16, where Southern resides with Kimberly Anne Sherrod, 23, yielded more meth and fire-arms, police said. Sherrod was charged with trafficking meth and possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

Police also arrested Otis Keith Shelton, 48, of 4407 Danville Road S.W., who faces charges of possessing a controlled substance and possessing of drug paraphernalia.

"Mr. Shelton showed up later, and he was arrested because of stuff that was found in the business," said Sgt. Faron White, head of OCU.

Shelton also works at the business, but the nature of his position was not immediately clear.

"I don't know what their (the Shelton family's) involvement is. The investigator is talking to them now, so hopefully I'll find out soon," White said.

Also, a 44-year-old Decatur man was arrested on a misdemeanor for marijuana he had when he arrived at the business while police were there, White said.

White said he wasn't in a position to say whether drugs had been traded out of the business.

Most of the meth found at Shelton's was in one large gallon-size baggie, but some of the marijuana had been packaged in smaller portions for sale, White said.

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