Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Telfair County Sheriff Charged with Corruption

Edmund A. Booth, Jr., United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, announced December 22 the filing of a criminal Information against Jimmie W. Williamson, age 48, the Sheriff of Telfair County, Georgia. The Information charges Williamson with devising a scheme to deprive the citizens of Telfair County of his honest services as their Sheriff and using the United States mails in furtherance of that scheme, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341 and 1346. Booth noted that the criminal Information charges that Williamson engaged in this scheme from approximately 2004 to the present through a variety of corrupt activities in his official capacity as Sheriff.

As specified in the criminal Information, those corrupt activities included:

• the embezzlement of fine and bond money paid by individuals arrested in Telfair County for his own personal use instead of properly sending such money to the Telfair County courts;

• the acceptance of bribes from individuals arrested in Telfair County in exchange for reducing or dismissing the pending charges against them and in exchange for granting those individuals special privileges while housed at the Telfair County Jail; and

• the improper purchase of items for his own personal use with funds belonging to and for the exclusive use of the Sheriff’s Department. Booth stated that if Williams is convicted, he faces a maximum statutory penalty of twenty (20) years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and a period of supervised release of three (3) years. An initial appearance and arraignment have not been scheduled at this time.

The investigation was conducted by Special Agent Robert Jones of the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The government is being represented by Assistant United States Attorney R. Brian Tanner.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oxendine Urges Fireworks Safety for New Year's Celebration

Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John W. Oxendine and the National Association of State Fire Marshals urges parents to protect their children -- and themselves -- from the dangers of fireworks during the New Year’s holiday.

The sale and individual use of any type of firework, except certain kinds of sparklers, is illegal in Georgia. The penalties are a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and/or a sentence of up to one year in jail. Professional fireworks displays are permitted, provided they are licensed through the local judge of probate court.

The law states that the definition of prohibited fireworks shall not include: “Wire or wood sparklers of 100 grams or less of mixture per item; other sparkling items which are non-explosive and nonaerial and contain 75 grams or less of chemical compound per tube or a total of 200 grams or less for multiple tubes; snake and glow worms; trick noise makers which include paper streamers, party poppers, string poppers, snappers, and drop pops each consisting of 0.25 grains or less of explosive mixture.”

The Commissioner said sparklers are legal in Georgia, but should be used properly and with adult supervision.

“In 2006, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated approximately 9,200 people for fireworks-related injuries,” Oxendine said. “Approximately one-third of these injuries occurred among children age 14 years and younger.”

Remind children that if they find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them, and immediately contact the local fire department.

“It’s traditional to celebrate the coming of the New Year with fireworks,” Oxendine said. “I urge our citizens to enjoy them safely by watching a professional display as they mark the arrival of 2009.”
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Number of Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the United States Falls Sharply in 2008

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 2008 is ending as one of the safest years for U.S. law enforcement in decades. The number of officers killed in the line of duty fell sharply this year when compared with 2007, and officers killed by gunfire reached a 50-year low.

Based on their analysis of preliminary data, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) found that 140 officers have died in the line of duty so far this year, a 23 percent reduction from the 2007 figure of 181. Other than 1996, when 139 officers were killed, 2008 represents the lowest year for officer fatalities since 1965, when 136 officers died in the line of duty.

This year's reduction includes a steep, 40 percent drop in the number of officers who were shot and killed, from 68 in 2007 to 41 in 2008. The last time firearms-related fatalities were this low was 1956, when there were 35 such deaths. The 2008 figure is 74 percent lower than the total for 1973, when a near-record high 156 law enforcement officers were shot and killed.

"2007 was a wake-up call for law enforcement in our country, and law enforcement executives, officers, associations and trainers clearly heeded the call, with a renewed emphasis on officer safety training, equipment and procedures," said NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd. "The reduction in firearms-related deaths is especially stunning, given the tremendous firepower possessed by so many criminals today. The fact that law enforcement has been able to drive down the crime rate, and do so with increased efficiency and safety, is a testament to the hard work and professionalism of our officers," Mr. Floyd added.

"Concerns of Police Survivors is pleased to see the reduction in officer deaths for 2008 and hopes this is a trend we will see year after year. But we also know that for each of the surviving families and co-workers, their one officer is one too many," said C.O.P.S. National President Jennifer Thacker. "These families, co-workers and agencies are struggling to cope with life without their officer and will need support from C.O.P.S. before, during and long after National Police Week. C.O.P.S. will continue its efforts to provide life rebuilding support and resources for 2008 surviving families and affected co-workers, as well as past year survivors to help them rebuild their shattered lives. We will embrace these families and affected co-workers and assure them there is no fee to join C.O.P.S., for the price paid is already too high," she said.

In 2008, for the 11th year in a row, more law enforcement officers, 71, died in traffic-related incidents than from gunfire or any other single cause of death. Mirroring the nationwide drop in traffic fatalities among the general public this year, the number of officers killed in traffic incidents was down 14 percent from 2007. Last year, a record high 83 officers died on our roadways. Of this year's traffic-related fatalities, 44 officers died in automobile crashes, 10 died in motorcycles crashes and 17 were struck and killed by other vehicles.

Among other causes of death, 17 officers succumbed to job-related physical illnesses, three died in aircraft accidents, two were fatally stabbed, two died in bomb-related incidents, and one each was beaten to death, drowned, accidentally electrocuted and died in a train accident.

Fifteen of the officers killed this year were women, equaling the all-time high set in 2002. 2008 marked the first time that more than 10 percent of the officers who died in a year were female. Among all officers killed in 2008, the average age was 40 and the officers had served an average of 12 years in law enforcement.

Texas, for the second year in a row, experienced the most law enforcement officer fatalities, although the state's 2008 total of 14 was down from 22 in 2007. California had 12 officer fatalities, followed by Florida and Pennsylvania, with eight each. Four of the eight Pennsylvania officers to die this year were members of the Philadelphia Police Department, which experienced the most deaths of any agency. Thirty-five states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands lost officers in 2008. Eight officers serving with federal law enforcement agencies also died this year, down from 17 in 2007.

Mr. Floyd cited a number of reasons for the sharp decline in officer fatalities this year: 1) better training and equipment, plus a realization among officers that "every assignment is potentially life-threatening, no matter how routine or benign it might seem;" 2) increased use of less-lethal weaponry, including TASER stun guns, which allow officers to apprehend resisting violent offenders with less chance of assault or injury; 3) more officers wearing bullet-resistant vests--over the past 20 years, vests have saved more than 3,000 law enforcement lives; 4) a downturn in violent crime--the Department of Justice reported that violent crime is at its lowest level since 1973; and 5) a tougher criminal justice system, with a record 2.3 million offenders in correctional facilities nationwide.

The statistics released by the NLEOMF and C.O.P.S. are preliminary and do not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2009. The report, "Law Enforcement Officer Deaths, Preliminary 2008 Report," is available at For information on the programs that Concerns of Police Survivors offers to the surviving families of America's fallen law enforcement officers, visit

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Local Businessman Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Fraud & Bribery Involving Federal 'E-Rate' Funds

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- R. Clay Harris, 56, of Peachtree City, Ga., was sentenced today by United States District Judge Clarence Cooper on charges of bribery and conspiring to bribe a former Atlanta Public Schools (APS) official and to deprive APS and the citizens of Atlanta of that official's honest services.

"This defendant paid over two hundred thousand dollars in bribes to the technology director of Atlanta Public Schools in exchange for lucrative technology contracts," said David E. Nahmias, United States Attorney. "The sentence imposed in this case should serve as another warning that business people who think they can bribe their way into contracts with school systems and government agencies face the risk of being caught and convicted. In this case, both the school system employees who accepted the payoffs and the contractor who made the payoffs have now been convicted and will serve time in federal prison."

"Today's sentencing demonstrates the Department's resolve to hold accountable individuals who disrupt the competitive process and frustrate efforts to help our nation's economically disadvantaged school children," said Deborah A. Garza, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Antitrust Division.

R. Clay Harris was sentenced to five years in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and with two co-defendants was ordered to pay restitution of $234,324.50.

According to United States Attorney Nahmias, the charges and other information presented in court: Harris was the CEO and majority owner of Multimedia Communications Services Corporation (MCSC), while co-conspirator Arthur Scott was the Director of APS's Operational Technology/Telecommuications Division, with responsibility for APS's technology infrastructure and for managing and overseeing APS's "E-Rate" program. Arthur Scott pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges in May 2007, and is currently serving a sentence of three years in federal prison. Arthur Scott testified at trial against Harris.

The E-Rate program was created by Congress in 1996 to provide funding to connect needy schools to the Internet and was authorized to provide billions of dollars of funding to such schools. In 1998, Arthur Scott and other APS Information Services employees recommended that MCSC (and related companies) be awarded contracts to do E-Rate work for APS.

Evidence at trial showed that starting in late 2000 and continuing until late 2002, Harris paid M&S Consulting, a business partnership between Arthur Scott and his wife, Evelyn Myers Scott, over $230,000 for favorable treatment in receiving E-Rate and other APS business. In January 2001, shortly after the corrupt payments began, Arthur Scott submitted E-Rate funding applications requesting over $22 million for MCSC to provide equipment and services to APS, without competitive bidding.

The evidence showed that in September 2001, APS learned that E-Rate had approved and set aside $11 million for MCSC projects. Arthur Scott testified at trial that he did virtually no work for Harris from that point forward, yet he continued to invoice Harris and got over $200,000 in payments from Harris. During that same time period, Harris received over $11 million in E-Rate funds for work at APS.

In January 2002, Arthur Scott submitted E-Rate funding applications requesting over $16 million more for MCSC to provide equipment and services to APS, again without competitive bidding. Harris' payments to Scott stopped when Harris' company, MCSC, was forced to competitively bid for additional E-Rate work in December 2002 and was not selected by APS to conduct further work under the E-Rate program. Evelyn Myers Scott, the partner in M&S Consulting, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to deprive APS of her honest services in May 2007 and is currently serving a sentence of two years in federal prison. Evelyn Myers Scott also testified at trial against Harris.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Communications Commission Office of the Inspector General. APS cooperated in the investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys William McKinnon and Sally B. Molloy prosecuted this case, with the assistance of the Atlanta Field Office of the Antitrust Division.

For further information please contact David E. Nahmias (pronounced NAH-me-us), United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Update on Thefts from Mailboxes, Peachtree City

On Wednesday, December 10, 2008, the Peachtree City Police Department responded to a call regarding a bag of mail that was recovered by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office. The bag was recovered behind the Peachtree East Shopping Center, located outside the East Highway 54 city limits. The bag contained delivered mail that was intended for residents who live in the Hampton Green and Morallion Hills area subdivisions. It is estimated that there were approximately thirty-two (32) thefts from mailboxes. It is believed that the mail was stolen sometime after 10 a.m. and before 5 p.m., on Monday, December 8, 2008.

The Peachtree City Police Department is seeking any information regarding any suspicious activity noted by anyone in those affected areas, as well as anyone who may have witnessed the mail being abandoned behind the shopping center.

Approximately two weeks prior to this incident, similar mail thefts occurred in the Summer Brooke and Rockspray Ridge area subdivisions. In those thefts, mail awaiting pick-up from the Postal Service was stolen.

On Friday, December 19, 2008, investigators from the Peachtree City Police Department conducted a search warrant at 112 Peachtree Stations Circle, Peachtree City, Ga. in regards to recent thefts from mailboxes. Once inside, investigators were able to recover numerous stolen mail items linking the suspect with the November 26th and December 8th thefts. The investigators also collected merchandise, some of which had been gift wrapped for the holidays, which were purchased with stolen checks. The suspect was identified as SHUVANNI, SHANNON MICHELLE, age 26, of 112 Peachtree Stations Circle. Later that evening, she was located and arrested for six (6) counts of FORGERY. She was transported to the Fayette County Jail where she is awaiting her appearance in the Fayette County Magistrate Court.

Additional charges for related mail thefts and forgeries are anticipated.

If anyone has information that would assist the Police Department in this or other incidents, please contact the Peachtree City Criminal Investigations Division at 770-631-2510, or the Crime and Narcotics Information Hotline at (770) 487-6010. You may remain anonymous.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reward Offered for Information Leading to Arrest of Vandals

On Thursday morning, December 18, 2008, between midnight and 8:00 a.m. several residential mailboxes in the Planterra Ridge Subdivision were damaged. It appears the mailboxes were possibly struck with a blue metal baseball bat. During the same time frame, numerous tires of vehicles parked on the streets were punctured.

A $500.00 reward is being offered for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s).

If anyone has information that would assist the Police Department in this or other incidents, please contact the Peachtree City Criminal Investigations Division at 770-631-2510, or the Crime and Narcotics Information Hotline at (770) 487-6010. You may remain anonymous.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Serial Bank Robber Sentenced to More Than 167 Years in Prison

SOUKSAKHONE PHAKNIKONE, 26, a/k/a "Bruce Phaknikone," and "Trigga," of Dacula, Georgia, was sentenced December 18 by United States District Judge Richard W. Story on seven counts of armed bank robbery, seven counts of use of a firearm during the commission of the armed bank robberies, and one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said of today's sentence, "Over a seven-month period in 2006 and 2007, this defendant terrorized people in banks across metro Atlanta. While his violent and aggressive tactics enabled him to victimize numerous unsuspecting bank tellers, the sentence he received today ensures that the remainder of his life will be spent behind bars. Innocent citizens will never again suffer from the gun-toting violence of this criminal."

PHAKNIKONE was sentenced to 167 years, 1 month in prison to be followed by 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $86,706. After a trial lasting approximately a week and a half, the jury convicted PHAKNIKONE of these charges on September 25, 2008.

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court: PHAKNIKONE was arrested on April 6, 2007, after he robbed a Wachovia Bank in Suwanee, Georgia, and led police on a high speed chase that ended in a collision and his apprehension at gun point. The evidence at trial proved that on seven separate occasions, "Trigga" robbed banks wearing a ski mask, hoodie, gloves and carrying a semi-automatic firearm. In each robbery he vaulted the teller counter and personally grabbed the cash. Although he went to great lengths to conceal his identity, investigators recognized his signature actions, including jumping the counter in each of his robberies. Intensive investigation revealed PHAKNIKONE had visited a number of the banks without his mask to "case" and plan the robberies. Agents obtained bank surveillance photos from "Trigga's" pre-robbery visits to the banks, which in effect, removed his mask for the jury and revealed "Trigga's" true identity.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and police officers from the following departments: Suwanee Police Department, Lilburn Police Department, Duluth Police Department, Gwinnett County Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff's Department, and Barrow County Sheriff's Department.

Assistant United States Attorneys Angela M. Jordan and Matthew T. Jackson prosecuted the case.

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Senior "Black Mafia Family" Member Sentenced in Cocaine Distribution Case

A federal judge on December 17 sentenced FLEMING "ILL" DANIELS, 35, of Roswell, to 20 years in federal prison for his conviction for conspiring to distribute cocaine with other members of the "Black Mafia Family" ("BMF"), a violent drug gang that has been the focus of federal prosecution in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Louisville, Orlando, and elsewhere around the United States. DANIELS was also ordered to serve 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a fine of $10,000.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, "This defendant--someone with multiple prior drug and firearms convictions -- typifies what was so alarming about the Black Mafia Family, a criminal organization that combined drug dealing with gun violence. This sentence will prevent Daniels from returning for many years to the wayward and dangerous lifestyle that the BMF celebrated."

DEA Special Agent In Charge Rodney G. Benson said of the sentencing, "The distribution of dangerous drugs and associated gun violence are a recipe for disaster. This lifestyle will land you serious prison time or it may cost you your life. The sentence imposed upon this defendant is appropriate for the crimes that he committed."

According to Nahmias and other information presented in court: DANIELS and his co-conspirators were members or associates of the Black Mafia Family, a nationwide gang that distributed thousands of kilograms of cocaine during 2002-2005. Federal authorities first moved against the BMF in October 2005 with multi-defendant cocaine conspiracy indictments in Detroit, Louisville, and Orlando. Dozens of other defendants were subsequently charged as a result of related BMF investigations in Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Greenville, South Carolina. In the Atlanta case, 16 defendants were indicted in July 2007. DANIELS was the only Atlanta defendant to go to trial to date; 11 of his co-defendants have entered guilty pleas. The jury that convicted DANIELS found that he was personally responsible for distributing over 50 kilograms of cocaine, drugs with a street value in excess of $1,000,000. One defendant in the case, VERNON M. COLEMAN, a/k/a "Wu," 32, of Atlanta, remains a fugitive. The other three co-defendants are in custody but have not yet resolved their cases.

The evidence showed that at its peak during 2003-2004, the BMF was moving hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into Atlanta, Detroit, and other distribution hubs every month. The drugs would arrive in vehicles - often limousines - with secret compartments or "traps." These same trap vehicles would then be filled with cash (the proceeds from drug sales) to be sent back to the Mexican sources of supply.

Along with these massive amounts of cocaine, the BMF brought violence to the streets of Atlanta. In one incident, Rashannibal Drummond, 23, was beaten, shot and killed in the parking lot of the Midtown club Velvet Room during the early morning hours of July 25, 2004. The murder was the culmination of a one-sided brawl that was alleged to have been precipitated when the unarmed Drummond slapped one of the BMF's prized luxury vehicles to alert its driver not to back over him. FLEMING DANIELS has been indicted in Fulton County for that murder and is awaiting trial.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta recommends parents and children learn about the dangers of drugs at

This case was investigated by Special Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, assisted by the United States Marshals Service; the Internal Revenue Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Atlanta High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force; the Tennessee Department of Safety; the Atlanta Police Department; the DeKalb County Police Department; and the Henry County Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorneys Cassandra Schansman and Robert McBurney prosecuted the case.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Department of Homeland Security Expands Collection of Biometrics for Visitors

/PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that it is expanding the categories of non-U.S. citizens required to provide digital fingerprints and a photograph upon entry to the United States through the US-VISIT program.

US-VISIT records biographic and biometric information to conduct security checks and verify the identities of international visitors to the United States. Expanding enrollment in US-VISIT is a positive step forward in a process designed to further improve public safety and national security while ensuring the integrity of the immigration system. Linking a person's biometric information to his or her travel documents reduces the risk that a traveler's identity or documents could be intentionally misused by someone attempting to gain entry into the United States.

Additional non-U.S. citizens required to provide biometrics are:

-- Lawful permanent residents of the United States (LPRs);
-- Persons entering the United States who seek admission on immigrant
-- Persons entering the United States who seek admission as refugees and
-- Canadian citizens who are currently required to obtain a Form I-94,
Arrival / Departure Document upon entry or require a waiver of
inadmissibility to enter the United States (This excludes most
Canadian citizens entering the United States for purposes of shopping,
visiting friends and family, vacation or short business trips);
-- Persons paroled into the United States; and
-- Persons applying for admission under the Guam Visa Waiver Program.

Collection and verification of biometric identifiers upon entry protects travelers by making it virtually impossible for anyone else to attempt to use their biometrically linked travel documents (such as a permanent resident card), such as if their documents were stolen or duplicated.

US-VISIT biometric collection requirements apply to most non-U.S. citizens, with limited exemptions, entering the United States regardless of country of origin or whether they are traveling on a visa or by air, sea or land. Non-U.S. citizens under the age of 14 and over the age of 79 are exempt from US-VISIT procedures, as are certain other individuals admitted under specific categories. The Final Rule is available for viewing at

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FBI Addresses Unrelated Suspicious Mailings Received This Week

There have been two issues covered by the press this week concerning suspicious letters. These matters are not related. The first issue involves letters mailed from Texas to more than 40 different governors’ offices around the country and numerous U.S. Embassies overseas. Each of these envelopes contained a similar typewritten letter and a white powder substance. The powder was field tested at the site and then forwarded to a regional laboratory for further testing. To date, the testing on the powder has proven negative for any harmful substance. It will eventually be sent to the FBI Laboratory as evidence in the case. Even though the substance is harmless, this matter is still a federal crime and is being investigated by the FBI’s Dallas Division and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

In a second, unrelated matter, several U.S. military facilities throughout the country have received envelopes containing a computer disk and other material. There has been no powder substance in these mailings to date. As part of the FBI’s WMD protocol, agents in each field office interact with countless people in their communities to provide training on how to recognize suspicious mail and the proper notification procedures. In several instances involving the letters to the military bases, the FBI responded, examined the envelope, and determined there was no federal crime. Absent a threat or powder, the FBI does not investigate individuals who write letters expressing their opinions. As this action is protected under the First Amendment, the FBI is not investigating this matter.

Information on how to recognize suspicious mail or packages can be found on or

Special Agent Richard J. Kolko
Chief, FBI National Press Office

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rotary Club of Peachtree City Honors 2008 Police Officer of the Year

Photo: L-R, Chief of Police, H.C. "Skip" Clark, II, stands with Corporal James "Jay" Hughes as Rotary Club of Peachtree City, George Martin presents the 2008 Police Officer of the Year Award
Corporal James “Jay” Hughes, was honored as the 2008 Peachtree City Rotary Club Officer of the Year, Saturday evening at a festive banquet.

Each year the Rotary Club of Peachtree City selects an outstanding officer for this distiguished award.

Corporal Hughes was selected for this award because he has proven himself a positive role model for others to follow. He is the type of police officer that others choose to emulate and has been instrumental in helping launch the careers of several officers under the police department’s field training program.

Hughes has a unique ability to balance the needs of the community with enforcement responsibilities. He has earned a distinct level of respect from his peers, supervisors and commanders alike, as well as the civilian members of the police department. Corporal Hughes takes a hands-on approach when training others, which is a quality that many young officers seem to admirer. His leadership, professionalism, and commitment to team building is unquestionable. He has had a tremendous impact on the police department’s success as an organization and the ability to achieve its mission.

The Peachtree City Rotary Club Officer of the Year award recipient has provided an excellent service to the citizens of Peachtree City for over ten years. Similar to the Rotarians motto “Service above Self”, this officer has demonstrated commitment, consistency, loyalty and dedication in serving and protecting the citizens of Peachtree City.

Corporal Hughes grew up in Peachtree City, is a graduate of McIntosh High School and attended Columbus State University, receiving a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. He began his employment with the police department in 1997 and was advanced to Corporal in January 2000. Among a lengthy list of basic training courses, he excels as one of the police departments several Accident Re-constructionists.
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If You Have a Cell Phone, You Can Help Return Abducted Children, Missing Persons

/PRNewswire/ -- Keep Georgia Safe, Georgia's only private, non-profit organization with the mission to provide safety education and crime prevention training to Georgia's families and law enforcement agencies, has partnered with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to communicate abduction alerts via cell phones. Now, when the GBI issues an alert that a child has been abducted, Keep Georgia Safe immediately sends the abduction information to subscribers' cell phones.

"Statistics show that the first three hours after a child's abduction are the most critical in recovery," says Keep Georgia Safe founder Gary Martin Hays. "Through this network of cell phone subscribers, we can all help recover Georgia's kids and return them home safely."

"Without the combined efforts of law enforcement, the broadcasters and emergency management, this program would be ineffective," says Vernon M. Keenan, director of the GBI. "We eagerly welcome the assistance of the private sector in getting the word out to Georgia citizens about missing children, missing adults and/or dangers they may face."

Keep Georgia Safe has a two-pronged approach to crime prevention: 1) Proactive: School Curriculum Initiative and Community Safety Seminars, Web Resources and Media Campaigns 2) Reactive: Alert System Network. As the only organization that sends out all three of Georgia's emergency alerts, the Keep Georgia Safe Wireless Network uses a text platform to notify opt-in wireless subscribers when the GBI issues any of its three emergency alerts:

-- Levi's Call: (Georgia's AMBER Alert) for an abducted or missing child
-- Mattie's Call: elderly or disabled missing person alert
-- Kimberly's Call: dangerous fugitive alert

Keep Georgia Safe provides the alert service free of charge. Standard text charges, if any, will apply pursuant to the agreement with your cellular provider. To join the network, visit and enter your cell phone number. Subscribers will not receive any calls or alerts other than GBI-issued alerts. For more information on Keep Georgia Safe or its alert network, visit or call 770.934.8000.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

E-Mail Scammers Continue to Send Fake FBI Messages

Consumers continue to report receiving spam e-mail messages that claim to be sent by top FBI officials. As with previous spam attacks, the latest versions use the names of several high ranking executives within the FBI and even the Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3) in an attempt to defraud consumers.

These e-mails are hoaxes and recipients are urged not to respond.

Many of the spam e-mails currently in circulation claim to: be from an “official order” from the FBI’s non-existent Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division or from an alleged FBI unit in Nigeria; confirm an inheritance; or contain a lottery notification. The e-mails inform recipients they have been named the beneficiary of millions of dollars. To claim the large sum, recipients are instructed to furnish their personally identifiable information (PII) and are often threatened with some type of penalty, such as prosecution, if they fail to do so. Specific PII information requested includes, but is not limited to, the recipient’s name, banking information, telephone number, and a copy of their passport.

The spam e-mail allegedly from the IC3 states that the recipient has extorted money and will be given a limited amount of time to refund the money or face prosecution.

The FBI does not send unsolicited e-mails of this natur e. FBI executives are briefed on numerous investigations but do not personally contact consumers regarding such matters. In addition, the IC3 does not send threatening letters to consumers demanding payments for Internet crimes.

Consumers should not respond to any unsolicited e-mails or click on any embedded links associated with such e-mails, as they may contain viruses or malwar e. It is imperative consumers guard their PII. Providing your PII will compromise your identity.

“Unfortunately these types of scams do not seem to be going away any time soon. They continue to cycle through the Internet using names of different government officials and agencies. Scammers will continue to seek new ways to gain an advantage so they can steal your money or personal information. Just don’t respond,” said Special Agent Richard Kolko, Chief, National Press Office, Washington, D.C.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Suspicious White Powder Letters Received Around the United States

Robert E. Casey Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Dallas FBI, announces during the last 24 hours, at least seven letters containing a suspicious white powder have been received by the offices of governors around the country.

The white powder substance has been field screened and the tests have met with negative results. The white powder substance has been forwarded to local laboratories for further testing.

To date, all letters have been postmarked from Dallas, Texas and were received by governors’ offices in Rhode Island, Michigan, Mississippi, Alabama, Minnesota, Montana, and Missouri.
Anyone with information concerning these letters should contact their local FBI office, or call the Dallas FBI at 972-559-5000.

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Cocaine Trafficker Sentenced in Absentia

Maxwell Wood, United States Attorney, for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Anthony Sean Walker, age 34, of Omega, Georgia, was sentenced on December 4, 2008, to thirty (30) years in Federal prison without parole.

As part of a plea agreement, Walker acknowledged that he routinely obtained fifty (50) to seventy (70) kilograms of cocaine monthly which he distributed to cocaine dealers in the Tift County area. As part of the investigation, law enforcement officers intercepted a tractor trailer truck which was used by Walker to transport drug proceeds. A search of the truck uncovered $800,000.00 in drug money which was being shipped to California as payment for cocaine. A search of Walker’s residence uncovered $13,159.00 in drug proceeds.

Following entry of Walker’s guilty plea, he was released on bond pending sentencing. Walker absconded and has remained a fugitive. The Government filed a motion to sentence Walker in absentia. The Court granted the motion. Consequently, a hearing was convened on December 04, 2008, which led to the thirty (30) year sentence.

The investigation was conducted by agents from Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and South Georgia Drug Task Force. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Charles Calhoun.

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