HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – In the last couple of years, the sheriffs of Long, Liberty and McIntosh counties have started working across their jurisdictions to take criminals off the streets.
With five violent offenders now in custody, they say the partnership is paying off.
“Those meetings,” which Long County Sheriff Craig Nobles said started in 2018, “became more relevant to what we do and the crimes we try to prosecute.”
“So at that time, we increased our efforts and the SWAT team was formed,” along with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Nobles said.
The sheriffs say their teamwork was put to the test in September 2019 when a methamphetamine investigation crossed county lines.
“The criminals who commit narcotic offenses also commit general crimes offenses,” Nobles said. “So it brought all of our investigators — drug and crime investigators and patrol deputies — to the table to discuss certain individuals who we had suspicions of committing crimes.”
Some of those crimes include the illegal sale of firearms, an armed robbery at a convenience store and two home invasions.
Ultimately, it led to arrests in the death of Pernell ‘Tony” Boston who was hit and killed near East Oglethorpe Highway in June 2018.
Rosaleen Behnke and Michael Haggerty are now charged with conspiracy to violate controlled substance act, resulting in the death of another. Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes confirms that death was Boston’s.
Three others, Myra Prevatt, Tyler Marshall and John Hope Jr., have been arrested for various offenses in connection with the drug investigation.
The sheriffs say the number of arrests for the five individuals combined totals 73.
“This is a case that we’re trying our best to take federal so that we don’t have these same guys back out on the street,” Sikes said, adding, “You take someone to state prison, they usually beat you back home, and we’re trying to eliminate that.”
When asked whether more arrests were on the horizon in Boston’s death, Sikes said he “would rather not elaborate.”
But all three sheriffs seemed confident their partnership would continue the mission they started at those first meetings in 2018. “It’s for the one goal: stopping crime,” said McIntosh County Sheriff Steve Jessup.
“It’s taken a lot of bad guys off the street and it’s going to take a lot more off the street,” Sikes said.
“And it makes the tri-county area a lot safer,” Jessup added.