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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2007
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Sheriff: Limestone officers arrest major drug dealer

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ATHENS — Getting ripped off over a cocaine deal forced a man whom Sheriff Mike Blakely called a major drug dealer to turn to pot to make money.

And that led him to sell 10 pounds of marijuana to undercover officers and end up in jail on trafficking charges, Blakely said.

The sheriff identified the alleged dealer as Travis "Boss" Hines, 28, of George Washington Street, Tanner.

"Boss was sent to prison a few years ago on cocaine charges, and he's mainly a cocaine dealer by trade," Blakely said. "He said he normally doesn't fool with pot, but moved on to that when he got ripped off of $50,000 in a cocaine deal."

Arrested in 2005

Blakely said Hines' cocaine arrest occurred in 2005 during Operation Blue Thunder, when local and federal officials arrested Hines' older twin brothers as part of a major cocaine trafficking network.

"Boss slipped out of getting federal charges for some reason but went to state prison," Blakely said.

After undercover officers allegedly made the two marijuana buys off Hines, Blakely said, his department obtained warrants for him and his girlfriend and arrested them Tuesday night.

Blakely identified the girlfriend as Erica Renee Bass, 19, of Cloverleaf Drive, Athens.

He said Bass allegedly participated in one of the dope deals.

Authorities charged Hines with two counts of trafficking in marijuana, and Bass with one count of trafficking in marijuana. Both remained in Limestone County Jail with bond not yet set.

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