DTF Commander Capt. Mark Mayton said the agency began an investigation last month into drug activity in Cartersville.
Agents Tuesday evening arrested Christopher Lee Willingham in a traffic stop on Interstate 75 for possession of marijuana and an improper tag display.
During the execution of a subsequent search warrant at 49 Benefield Circle, agents located roughly 7 ounces of the illegal narcotic “molly.” A large amount of high-grade marijuana and a firearm also were seized.
Six people, including three Cass High School athletes, were arrested at that location.
Brandon Shea Etheridge, 18, of 49 Benefield Circle, Cartersville; Dylan Cade Williams, 18, of 17 Crimson Hill Drive, Rydal; Samuel Lawrence Ayers, 18, of 411 Wilderness Camp Road, White; Dustin Bradley Bush, 18, of 226 Pine St., Atlanta; Timothy Glen Etheridge, 54, and Christi Lynn Etheridge, 49, both of 49 Benefield Circle, were charged in connection with the case, according to a press release.
Brandon Etheridge, Williams and Ayers played baseball for Cass, with Etheridge also playing quarterback for the Colonels.
According to previous stories in The Daily Tribune News, Williams was a future Louisiana State University Bengal Tiger.
Calls to Cass High Principal Mike Nelson, Athletic Director Rick Casko and baseball coach Adam Williams were not returned Wednesday.
As for the drug allegedly in the teens’ possession, Mayton said the narcotic was uncommon locally.
“It’s new to our area. We don’t see a lot of it,” Mayton said Wednesday. “… It’s the same mixtures as methamphetamine.”
Molly, short for molecular or molecule, is the powder or crystal form of MDMA and is usually considered to be of higher purity. MDMA is the main component in ecstasy.
The quantity of molly seized Tuesday night was packaged in clear, plastic bags and had the same appearance as methamphetamine, only darker in color. Mayton said the street value of the almost 7 ounces was $16,000.
“This is the first molly that we have seized in Bartow County,” he said. “In the last year or so, we have heard the name molly back and forth. We just have not seized any until this incident.”
The commander said the narcotic, known to create a sense of euphoria, is popular among younger users.
“We have seen that it is predominantly isolated, at this point, to the younger generation,” he said. “We also have discovered it is popular in nightclubs for that age group as well, the 20-, 24-year-olds.”
With MDMA shipped in from international locations, Mayton declined to discuss in detail the source of the quantity seized Tuesday.
“I believe it was shipped in, but the origins of the molly that we seized yesterday, we believe came from a nightclub in Atlanta,” he said. “And we are not at liberty to discuss that at this time.”
The investigation into the case is ongoing and more arrests are expected.
According to the release, Willingham, 24, of 49 Benefield Circle, Cartersville, was arrested and charged with trafficking ecstasy, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, sale of marijuana, possession of a firearm during a felony violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act and window tint violation.
Brandon Etheridge, Williams, Ayers and Bush were each charged with trafficking ecstasy, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during a felony violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act.
Timothy Etheridge was charged with possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce. Christi Etheridge was charged with possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce.