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Dawson man arrested as part of historic drug bust in White County
Drug bust 1
Thomas Earl Garnsey - photo by Julia Hansen

A Dawson County man is one of two people behind bars following large drug seizures by the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office this past weekend, according to a Sept. 29 press release from the multi-agency unit. 

This story continues below. 

Thomas Earl Garnsey, 49, of Dawsonville, and Joshua McLaughlin, 34, of Canton were arrested on Sept. 25 in connection to an investigation conducted by the White and Lumpkin County sheriff’s offices, Riverdale Police Department, Atlanta-Carolinas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program and the ARDEO. 

Drug bust 2
Joshua McLaughlin


Agents seized more than 168 grams of fentanyl, 500 grams of methamphetamine, 60 grams of cocaine, 14 grams of ecstasy, 103 grams of Alprazolam, as well as black tar heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana, and over $10,000 in assets.

“This is the largest fentanyl seizure ever made inside of White County,” the release stated. 

The fentanyl and meth alone were valued at $25,200 and about $35,000 respectively, said GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Aaron Maupin.

Garnsey was charged with trafficking methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and crossing guard lines with drugs without consent, according to the press release and White County Detention Center online records. 

McLaughlin was charged with one count each for trafficking methamphetamine and cocaine. He also received separate charges for possession of fentanyl, heroin, ecstasy, alprazolam and marijuana, all with the intent to distribute. 

This investigation is still ongoing, according to the release. 

The ARDEO consists of different law enforcement agencies including the White County Sheriff’s Office and other regional sheriff’s offices and branches of state agencies. 

The Atlanta-Carolinas HIDTA aims to “significantly reduce drug availability in its three-state area by maximizing the collaborative and cooperative efforts of its law enforcement,” according to its website, www.achidta.org. The federal Office of National Drug Control Policy supports 33 HIDTA programs across the United States.

DCN will provide more information once it becomes available.

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