Alleged drug traffickers head to court

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 22, 2016

By Melanie Ruberti

LaGRANGE — Three men accused of trafficking at least 60 grams of suspected cocaine down Interstate 85 southbound through Hogansville officially heard the charges against them Thursday in Troup County Magistrate Court.

Walter Dardarius Maddox, Shamiya Marquez Colton and Marcus Latavius Cotton were each charged with one count of trafficking cocaine.

According to Sgt. Robert Gates with the Hogansville Police Department, he stopped the car the three men were riding in about 9 p.m. Jan. 6 just past the Hogansville exit in the southbound lanes of Interstate 85.

He told the court the Chrysler 200 they occupied was impeding the flow of traffic. Gates said the driver also failed to maintain his lane and crossed over the center line on the interstate at least twice.

When the officer pulled the car over, Gates said he immediately smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle.

He stated he asked the driver, Maddox, to step out of the car and questioned him about the smell.

Maddox allegedly told the officer that he, Colton and Cotton smoked marijuana earlier in the day. Gates said he also gave other arriving Hogansville officers permission to search the vehicle.

Gates said police found a clear bag of at least 30 grams of crack cocaine in the middle console between the drivers and passengers side, plus marijuana residue — known as “shake” — and opened cigar wrappers around the vehicle.

According to Gates, Maddox then uttered a confession to him while being placed in handcuffs.

“I was arresting him and he said, ‘I have something on me also,’” Gates told the court.

The suspect then allegedly told the officer he had another bag of crack cocaine shoved in his private region.

That bag of illegal drugs was later weighed and determined to be another 30 grams, Gates stated.

The officer testified Maddox allegedly claimed at the scene all the drugs were his.

But when Maddox was taken to the police station, he refused to talk to investigators and asked for a lawyer, Gates said.

Maddox’s defense attorney, Jodi Dick, peppered the officer with dozens of questions about the traffic stop and her client’s spontaneous confession about the evidence found inside the car.

“Did he actually make some kind of statement that the illegal drugs were his,” she asked Gates.

“At some point, and I don’t know the exact words he used, he said, ‘Whatever you find in the car is mine,’” Gates replied.

Dick asked presiding Judge Vickie Sue McWaters to set bond for her client, since he has no prior criminal record.

Both defense attorneys for Cotton and Cameron asked that the charges against their clients be dropped since none of the drugs or paraphernalia were found on their persons.

McWaters denied all three requests and bound the case over to Troup County Superior Court.

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.