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Ellijay, GA
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Photos contributed by Gilmer Sheriff's Department
Sheriff Nicholson, Detective Jeff Shelton, Detective Scott Camp, Detective Coy Trey Turner are shown with the 42 firearms seized from the Gilbert residence on Waters Rd.

Sheriff Nicholson releases the following information: 

On Tuesday, August 6, 2013, the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office participated in a joint marijuana eradication operation along with the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway Drug Task Force and the Governor’s Task Force, which is made up of multiple state law enforcement agencies, including DNR.

During the “flyover,” the air unit located marijuana plants near a residence off of Ellington Road. The ground team, made up of Gilmer deputies and Drug Task Force agents, went to the residence and located approximately four large marijuana plants in a garden. Further investigation led to the discovery of additional well-maintained marijuana plants at a nearby residence.

The officers took Xeduardo Nicolas Pantoja, 18, into custody for manufacturing marijuana and are still seeking a second violator from this location. Gilmer detectives assisted in the operation by writing and executing a Search Warrant of the residence where the four plants were located.

Later that same day, the air unit located another marijuana grow off of Ravencliff Road. The ground team went to the location and seized approximately 50 smaller marijuana plants. The investigation of that location led officers to a residence located off of Waters Road, in the Walnut Mountain area, where the officers ultimately located a large marijuana grow inside the residence. Through the investigation, it was confirmed that the residents were connected to both the Ravencliff location as well as the indoor grow. The officers seized a little over 120 very well maintained marijuana plants. In addition, the officers seized 42 firearms out of the residence, most of which were loaded. At this location, the officers arrested Warren Eugene Gilbert, 52, and his son, Harrison Owens Gilbert, 19, for Manufacturing Marijuana and they both face potential firearms charges. 

Sheriff Nicholson states that whereas he strongly supports, and has publicly stated he supports, the right of law abiding citizens to possess and carry firearms, he just as strongly supports the Georgia laws that make it illegal for convicted criminals and those who are committing felonies to be in possession of firearms.

He also stated, “I am extremely proud of the job that my deputies and the Drug Task Force have done in these cases. This was a very productive day for law enforcement in Gilmer County. It seems that only a few years ago it was very rare to find someone growing marijuana but in the last two to three years it seems to have come back in full force, and the manner in which it’s being grown in these indoor environments makes it a very lucrative illegal drug operation.

"In the last two years, my deputies and the Drug Task Force have made substantial arrests in these indoor marijuana operations. Lastly, I am very appreciative of the efforts of the Governor’s Task Force which has provided incredible support to Georgia’s local law enforcement agencies in the last couple of years.”

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