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Man shot in alleged drug theft

Local couple facing felony drug charges

POSTED: August 31, 2011 4:15 p.m.
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Ciupeiu

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A 42-year-old Dawsonville man was arrested Monday after he reportedly shot an intruder who authorities say was attempting to take marijuana plants from his property early Sunday.

Dawson County Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten said Darius Marcel Ciupeiu faces felony drug charges as well as a litany of other charges.

Ciupeui was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacturing marijuana, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm in committing a crime and aggravated assault.

Wooten said Ciupeiu is being held without bond at the Dawson County jail, as is 26-year-old Stephanie Kelly O'Block of Ellijay.

O'Block, who was arrested during a search of Ciupeiu's home, was charged with possession of marijuana, manufacturing marijuana and tampering with evidence.

The man Ciupeiu reportedly shot - Tommy Payne, 22, of Dawsonville - is in custody at the Hall County Detention Center.

He has not been charged in connection with the Dawson County case, authorities said, but is being held on a probation violation.

According to Wooten, Payne was found about 1 a.m. Sunday walking along Hwy. 52 with a gunshot wound to his leg.

He was picked up a short time after a motorist reported passing a suspicious person who appeared to need "some sort of help."

Payne was taken by ambulance to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he was treated and released to Hall County Sheriff's deputies.

The investigation into Payne's wound led authorities to Ciupeiu.

He was taken into custody Monday after a search of his Angel Drive home turned up equipment for an indoor marijuana-growing operation behind a false wall in the basement.

During the search, investigators also found several plants they believe Ciupeiu had attempted to discard after the shooting.

"Some were found in plastic trash bags, some tossed out on the property and we think he gave some away to other people," Wooten said.

Several guns, including an assault rifle, were also found at the home.

Investigators are still trying to locate the .38-caliber handgun reportedly used in the shooting.

"He said he threw it in a pond in the area," Wooten said.

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