2013-08-21 / Front Page


Round-up underway in phone-tap drug sting
By Elizabeth Billips

More than a dozen defendants have been arrested for telephone conversations they had with a suspected narcotics dealer.

Another 14 are still wanted by Burke County deputies.

The kingpin, 43-year-old Kenneth Manuel Pyke Jr., was the center of a yearlong undercover investigation by a federal drug taskforce.

According to Sgt. Dedric Smith, chief investigator for the Burke County Sheriff ’s Office, Pyke is accused of making drug deals with each of the 27 defendants.

Pyke’s phone had been tapped, and the conversations were recorded.

The suspects are charged with “use of communication facility in facilitating the commission of Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act.” Each felony count, which went as high as 16 for one Waynesboro man, is punishable by one to four years imprisonment and a fine up to $30,000.

While a handful of suspects are listed as Burke County residents, the bulk of them are from outlying counties.

“Pyke was a high level criminal, not only in drugs but as a place for people to bring things to trade for drugs,” Sgt. Smith said, referencing more than $20,000 of stolen goods seized at Pyke’s home on Lake Crystal Drive when deputies served a no-knock warrant last summer. “His house was a well known place to go to trade stolen property.”

Over the past week deputies here have arrested 11 suspects accused of making drug deals with him. Other agencies picked up Hephzibah resident Barbara Soderberg, 35, who is charged with four felony counts and Augusta resident Doyle Johnson Jr., 40, who is charged with two. So far, bond in Burke County has been set at $4,750 per count

Officers expect to serve most of the remaining warrants this week.


Thomas B. Andrews, 44, of Martinez - 1 count
Steven Lee Zahner, 32, of Hephzibah – 1 count
Carolyn M. Fain, 35, of Tignall – 3 counts
Alyson R. Barry, 40, of Evans – 5 counts
Douglas Colby Pyke, 38, of Columbia, S.C. – 2 counts
Jack Jay Furman, 28, of Augusta – 5 counts
Thaddeus Vanshon Brown, 36, of Waynesboro – 13 counts
Eric Vincent Ellison, 35 ,of Waynesboro – 16 counts
Sandra Y. Morrison, 50, of Gibson – 1 count
Victor Gaytan, 29, of Tucker – 4 counts
James Robert Evans Jr., 31, of Union Point – 1 count
James Russell Harrell, 44, of Appling – 2 counts
Crystal R. Wagner, 33, of Augusta – 1 count
Henry Jennings Lonergan, 58, of Appling – 1 count

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