Narcotics agents instantly recognized marijuana as a substance found in an Autry State Prison van, but were baffled by another substance found in the vehicle.
Warrants are being secured for the arrest of six Autry inmates who were working Tuesday at the City of Thomasville shop near the west bypass.
A prison corrections officer became suspicious when he found a shirt in a portable toilet at the site. The officer did a shakedown of inmates and found a package of marijuana on prisoner Trevon Coger.
Thomasville police were notified, and the police canine unit searched a van in which the inmates were transported from the Mitchell County prison to Thomasville.
Nine more packages of marijuana were found, for a total of 162.7 grams.
“Nobody would claim the nine packages on the van, so all inmates were charged. They all had access to it,” said Kevin Lee, Thomas County/Thomasville Narcotics/Vice Division commander.
In addition to Coger, other inmates charged are Demetrius Hood, Michael Lewis, Steve McPherson, Mark Sellers and Michael Wall.
It is believed the contraband was delivered to the scene in the shirt and had been placed in the van to take back to the prison.
Another substance found on the van has not been identified.
“It will be sent to the crime lab for analysis,” Lee explained.
Narcotics agents are looking at surveillance video in an effort to determine who left the shirt in the portable toilet.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.