A Woodstock man was sentenced this week after the largest heroin bust ever in Cherokee County.
On Feb. 2023, a Cherokee County jury convicted 40-year-old Edward “Jay” Lionel Ball of distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of heroin, trafficking heroin, manufacturing heroin and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to Cherokee County Acting District Attorney Susan K. Treadaway.
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Officials said the charges stem from a Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad investigation in response to a tip about 39-year-old Reginald Jerome Foster selling methamphetamine in Cherokee County.
During the investigation, CMANS agents observed Ball selling Foster methamphetamine and heroin in the pool parking lot in the Kingsgate subdivision in Woodstock.
Court documents said Foster later sold drugs to an undercover agent.
On Jun. 27, 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant of Ball’s house in Kingsgate that he was renting.
According to court documents, CMANS agents discovered nearly a pound of heroin in a baking dish sitting on the stove, surrounded by kitchen tools.
After determining that the level of heroin in the home’s air was hazardous, law enforcement resumed the search warrant wearing hazmat gear. The house was also deemed unsafe for habitation.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reported that the heroin found in Ball’s home totaled more than 245 grams, substantially more than the 28 grams required for the highest level of trafficking charge per Georgia law.
Court documents said agents also found methamphetamine, scales and baggies used for distribution, handguns and ammunition.
According to court documents, a co-defendant testified that Ball was using his kitchen to “cut” the heroin, essentially adding substances to expand the product and increase profit. In addition, she said that she would travel with Ball to buy and sell large amounts of drugs from and to other drug dealers in the metro Atlanta area and that if she ever tried to leave the partnership, Ball would become physically violent with her.
In addition to Ball being charged, Foster and 35-year-old Katie Marissa Zepeta were arrested for their part in the crimes.
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On Apr. 28, 2021, Foster pled guilty to selling methamphetamine, selling heroin, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and other charges.
On Aug. 22, 2022, Zepeta pled guilty to trafficking heroin.
Ball was sentenced to 60 years with 45 years to serve in confinement and the remainder on probation.
Zepeta and Foster were sentenced to 20 years, with 10 to serve in confinement.