TELFAIR COUNTY, ga. - Since Wednesday, a short piece of plywood stood propped up in the front of a Telfair County home with a simple message spray-painted on it: "Pill House is Closed -- Telfair County Sheriff."
"In this case, a suspected major supplier of dangerous prescription drugs is now out of business and if convicted, will likely spend the rest of his life in a prison cell where he will never attribute to the death or demise of another person suffering from an addiction to prescription pills," Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson wrote on the agency's Facebook page this week.
Wednesday, deputies raided Lumber City home. Investigators said they seized thousands of prescription pills, illegal drugs, numerous firearms, more than a dozen slot machines, and cash in excess of $12,000. The sheriff's office said this is the culmination of a 4-month investigation which began a tip from a citizen and ended with the execution of a search warrant and the arrest of two people.
"This investigation began after concerned citizens alerted me to unusual and suspicious activity in the area of the Sirmans residence near Lumber City Ga. Our deputies patrolling the area quickly developed the necessary information that assisted sheriff's investigators in building a rock solid case against the suspects," Sheriff Steverson wrote.
Arthur Alex Sirmans, 69, of Lumber City, who owns the home, and Bethany Dawn Thompson, 25, of a Brunswick, were taken into custody on multiple felony charges.
"If not for the actions taken by these private citizens and our law enforcement, untold thousands of pills would without a doubt continue flowing through this network," wrote Sheriff Steverson.
Sirmans is being charged with multiple counts of sale, possession and intent to distribute Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V drugs. He is also charged with multiple counts of possession of a gambling device and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Thompson is being charged with conspiracy to commit a crime. Investigators said both are likely to face more charges once they have fully processed the evidence and completed the investigation into their operation.
"We can be proud of those Concerned Citizens for getting involved, as well as our exceptionally hard working and determined Deputies and Investigators who worked this investigation tirelessly from start to finish," Sheriff Steverson wrote.
Investigators will be busy going over hours of home security video footage and interviewing possible witnesses. They expect to arrest more individuals as the investigation progresses.