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Sunday May 1st, 2016 11:38AM

Court awards drug house to sheriff's office

By Derreck Booth Anchor/reporter
CUMMING - A house Forsyth County authorities said has been a trouble spot for drugs dating back to 1999 now belongs to the sheriff's office.

Documenting years of arrests and drug violations out of the house in the southwest portion of the county, the sheriff's office filed forfeiture paperwork.

"We will not tolerate this type of criminal activity within our community. We will continue to use every legal remedy at our disposal to rid our county of criminal elements," Sheriff Duane Piper said.

Sheriff's Deputy Doug Rainwater said the Superior Court of Forsyth County awarded the house to the sheriff's office on October, 29.

"This is very rare. Nobody in Forsyth County can remember the last time that we had a case like this," Rainwater said.

He said the next step is to allow the owner(s) to remove any belongings from the house. The sheriff's office will then sell it at fair market value, pay off the mortgages and put the leftovers back into the department's budget.

Authorities did not disclose the exact location of the house.

Rainwater said the main culprit in the drug violations at the home, Kelly Bruce Wheeler, 47, has faced 18 charges since 1999. During Wheeler's latest arrest, in August, deputies charged him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

"I'm not sure if this person that was arrested, Kelly Bruce Wheeler, is actually on the deed itself. I believe that someone had purchased the house for him or (was) making the mortgage payments in his name," Rainwater said.

During Wheeler's August arrest at the house, Rainwater said Toni Michelle Armstrong, 32, was present and also arrested on the same charge. Rainwater said Armstrong was Wheeler's companion or girlfriend.

According to Rainwater, Wheeler pleaded guilty to the latest charge and was sentenced to ten years, three to serve in prison. Armstrong's case is pending, according to Rainwater.
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