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Friday February 12th, 2016 7:30PM

Men arrested in Cornelia may be tied to violent home invasions, rape in Athens

By Rob Moore Reporter
CORNELIA - Cornelia Police Chief Rick Darby said Athens-Clarke County investigators and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are interested in three men arrested in the city Monday.

Darby said a citizen reported seeing one of the men, who resembled a composite sketch released by Athens-Clarke County police on Sunday, so she notified police.

That man is 27-year-old LaQuentin Dennard Smith.

"He's the one who's being looked at for the aggravated assault and rape," Darby said. "He's a person of interest in those cases."

Darby explained how Monday's arrests in Cornelia occurred.

"We were able to find the vehicle at Days Inn, then matched the photograph that he provided when he checked in at the hotel," Darby said. "He provided a passport. That's the only I.D. he had."

After comparing the composite sketch to the check-in photograph, the Habersham/Cornelia SWAT Team was activated to make the arrest.

"Everything went extremely smooth," Darby said. "It was textbook. They did a great job. There was no incident when they took them down."

Darby said the suspects were cooperative during their arrests.

He identified the other men as Donta Maurice Moses, 33, and Michael Edward Moses, 33.

"All of the suspects had extensive criminal histories," Darby said. "The shortest one was 17 pages, the other two were like 30. One had a murder charge, but it was dismissed. They did have violent tendencies - let's put it that way."

One of the suspects also had outstanding warrants from a metro county.

Darby said officials from both Athens-Clarke County and the GBI have been to Habersham County to interview the men.

"We've received word that they're going to proceed with that," Darby said.

Currently, the men face charges in Cornelia.

"They had drug charges, and we found a weapon hidden in the vehicle - after we got a search warrant - that matched a vague description from one of the victims in Clarke County," Darby said.

Smith is charged with possession of cocaine, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, and possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.

Donta Moses is charged with possession of cocaine, possession of a firearm or knife during certain crimes, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Michael Moses is charged with possession of cocaine, possession of a firearm or knife during certain crimes, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Darby said officers are still trying to determine the owner of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu the men were occupying.

"The car they were in had a Massachusetts license plate," he said. "It had been a Hertz rental car."

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