By MYRA THRIFT, GARY GRIFFIN Staff Writers
Several people were arrested in Waycross by U.S. Marshals Thursday on federal drug trafficking and weapons charges. The suspects made an appearance this morning in U.S. Federal Court on Tebeau Street.
Seven men and two women wearing jail garb and chain hobbles around their ankles filed into the courtroom to appear before U.S. District Court Judge Stan Pittman at 11 a.m. The proceeding was barely beginning as of press deadline.
Federal authorities conducted a day-long investigation Thursday, rounding up suspects at a variety of locations, James D. Durham, U.S. Attorney in Savannah, confirmed.
Durham pledged to have his office disseminate a press release. As of deadline, the release had not arrived via email.
Folks in Waycross-Ware County were abuzz Thursday over the presence of the federal authorities as they seemed to be everywhere.
A local man reported seeing several law vehicles parked along the curb in the 1500 block of Carswell Avenue early Thursday. He figured authorities were conducting some type of pre-dawn raid. They were not Waycross or Ware County law enforcement vehicles.
There were many other signs of an investigation in the community throughout the day Thursday.
A U.S. blackhawk helicopter was seen taking off and landing at the Waycross-Ware County Airport.
A man who lives in Emerson Park said that around 4 p.m. Thursday there were nine or 10 federal vehicles lined up at the intersection of Arizona and Connecticut avenues near his residence.
“They won’t talk to me, and I don’t know what is going on,” the man said. “I was hoping to find somebody that might know something. Whatever it is, it appears to be big!”
Some children were frightened when they saw what was described as an army tank on Walnut Street, which is between Knight and Central avenues, a local man said.
“My kids saw it, a military tank,” he said. “It scared them! You know, there are gang-bangers known to be in that area.”
A new armored military assault vehicle was seen parked at the Huddle House near Memorial Stadium.
A presence of federal law enforcement vehicles was noticed in Garlington Heights Thursday afternoon.
It was reported by citizens that federal agents were seen checking out storage units on Tebeau Street.