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July 10, 2007
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Atlanta police interrupt major drug buy in front of retail store

By Saeed Ahmed
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA, Ga. Even amongst the crowd of cars circling in search of parking spots, the two vehicles stationed outside the Macy's at Lenox Square mall store stood out.

The cars had their hoods up, and every few minutes, several men walked back and forth between them.
And when mall security cameras zeroed in Monday night, they stumbled on a surprising find, police said: a drug transaction in plain view at one of the region's biggest and busiest shopping destinations.

Atlanta police, who were called in, arrested six people and seized two handguns and several pounds of marijuana from the bust at the Buckhead mall, said Officer Ronald Campbell.

Those arrested were charged with possessing the drug with intent to sell, carrying concealed weapons and possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Fulton County Jail officials identified the suspects as Sojournar Bowen, 38; Charles Parrott, 43; Daranin Wilson, 27; Eddie Merrell, 21; Lewis Ford, 50; and Ricky Wells, 22. Initial court appearances were scheduled for late Tuesday morning at the jail.

Police called the transaction that was going on a "major buy," adding that the suspects were not street-level dealers.

"We don't have a specific weight," on the seized drugs, Campbell said Monday night, "but it's in the pounds."

The vehicles were parked right outside the Macy's store at the mall, with shoppers whizzing by and security details making their rounds every couple of minutes. Lenox, which opened in the late 1950s, claims to have more than 35 million shopper visits each year.

Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition, sent out kudos to the eagle-eyed mall security.

"This was an excellent demonstration of how they do their job and do it well," he said.

Copyright 2007 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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