MADISON, Ga. — One of two local men facing meth-related charges in the Peach State is now considered a fugitive.
A bench warrant was issued Tuesday for the arrest of Gerald Allen Smith for failing to appear in Morgan County Superior Court on Monday. His $20,000 surety bond was forfeited on Wednesday, according to court documents.
Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons said late Friday afternoon that his office had not yet been contacted about the case.
Smith, of Ellerbe, was indicted last September on one count each of trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of Oxycodone, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, criminal use of an article with an altered identification mark, receiving stolen property and driving while license suspended. He was also indicted on two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Court documents show that Smith and Patrick Carlton Harrington, of Jackson Springs were arrested by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office in June of last year.
Harrington was indicted one count each of trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of Oxycodone, criminal use of an article with an altered identification mark, theft by receiving stolen property and obstruction of an officer. He was also indicted on two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The Morgan County Citizen previously reported that a safety worker witnessed two men fleeing from a 2000 Cadillac after it struck a guardrail on I-20 and called it in around 9:30 the morning of June 3, 2017. (The indictment report lists the arrest date as June 5.)
Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley told the newspaper that he was at home when he received the call, but soon left to begin searching for the suspects — with other law enforcement agencies joining in.
Markley said he noticed two men matching the description of the suspects speaking to a woman in a white van in the driveway of a horse farm around 11:30 a.m., local media outlets report.
When the sheriff approached them and began a conversation, the men reportedly looked nervous and the woman gave “furtive glances” at the men.
At that point, Markley reportedly drew his service revovler and ordered both men on the ground.
Smith complied — while 3 Harrington allegedly took off running. He was later found hiding in an area of tall grass about 50 yards behind a barn after a K-9 unit from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office was called in to assist.
Officers say they found a backpack with more than 75 grams of suspected meth in clear plastic baggies, two guns, a bottle of suspected oxycodone and two cellphones.
The car reportedly belonged to Harrington, but had a stolen tag.
Smith allegedly told deputies that he had been picked up by Harrington as a hitchhiker when he fell asleep at the wheel and struck the guardrail. He also reportedly said that he fled the scene because his license was suspended, according to the Lake Oconee News.
When asked about the backpack, Smith said that a .22-caliber handgun that was found was his, but he knew nothing of the meth.
Harrington had a different story.
He reportedly admitted that he and Smith were friends and that he had been asked to drive from Jackson Springs to Douglasville, Georgia in exchange for meth.
Harrington said they had obtained the drugs and were on the way back when he fell asleep in the front seat and woke up after the crash.
Neither man has any pending charges in North Carolina.
Smith was convicted in 1992 of driving while impaired, a misdemeanor, in Brunswick County, according to records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction.
Harrington has no previous convictions in the state.
It is not clear what state(s) their previous felony convictions (prompting the possession of a firearm by a felon charges) are from.
All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.