Wednesday November 25th, 2015 1:18AM

Jackson Co. authorities arrest 12 suspected counterfeiters

By B.J. Williams News Director
NICHOLSON - Jackson County authorities have arrested a dozen vendors for selling tens of thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit merchandise at the J&J Flea Market near Nicholson.

Chief Deputy Daniel Thomas with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office said the arrests took place Saturday following an undercover investigation.

"About two months ago it was brought to our attention through some complaints that there was a problem with this type of activity going on at the J&J Flea Market," said Chief Thomas.

He said at the same time, company representatives from some of the labels that were having problems with copyright infringement also came to the sheriff's department with concerns that there might be counterfeiting taking place in Jackson County.

"We worked jointly with the Southern Region Recording Industry Association of America and other investigators - the ones that represent the goods that were being sold," said Thomas.

He said after a number of undercover buys were made, investigators were able to make their arrests and confiscate the stolen merchandise.

Thomas said authorities were able to confiscate more than 500 counterfeit items, ranging from sports caps to designer bags to sunglasses and watches, among other items. Thomas said the total value of those items ranged from $85,000 to $125,00. In addition, investigators seized 7,625 movie and music compact discs with an estimated retail value of $91,500.

Those arrested and the charges facing them are as follows:

~Mark Anthony Artist, 50, of Athens - forged or counterfeit trademarks (misdemeanor).
~Todd Christopher Artist, 35, of Lawrenceville - forged or counterfeit trademarks (misdemeanor) and reproduction of recorded material (felony).
~Jeffery Thomas Darity, 51, of Athens - reproduction of recorded material (felony).
~Eugene Echols, 47, of Athens - forged or counterfeit trademarks (misdemeanor) and reproduction of recorded material (felony).
~Margarita Asuc Flores-Alvarez, 41, of Norcross - reproduction of recorded material (felony).
~Rayvon Truhart Funn, 18, of Lawrenceville - forged or counterfeit trademarks
(misdemeanor) and reproduction of recorded material (felony).
~Kenneth Russell Jackson Jr., 51 of Lawrenceville - forged or counterfeit trademarks (felony).
~Kevin Lamar Kesler, 37, of Martin - forged or counterfeit trademarks (misdemeanor).
~Dontae Durell Lake Jr., 31, of Athens - reproduction of recorded material (felony).
~Neira Josefina Lealde-Sanchez, 43, of Duluth - forged or counterfeit trademarks (misdemeanor).
~Derek Spencer Morton, 49, of Colbert - reproduction of recorded material
~Dorotea Zapata, 52, of Corneila - forged or counterfeit trademarks (felony).

Thomas said other arrests are possible as the investigation continues.

© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Ribbon-cutting held for Appalachian Parkway in Cleveland
An official grand opening and road-naming ceremony was held Tuesday afternoon for the State Route 11/US 129 North Appalachian Parkway in Cleveland, previously known as the Cleveland Bypass.
By Dean Dyer
9:45PM ( 3 hours ago )
Non-life-threatening injuries reported in small plane crash
Gwinnett County police and fire officials say two people received non-life-threatening injuries after a small plane went down in the backyard of a private home.
4:38PM ( 8 hours ago )
Who's open for Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping
More and more businesses are opening their doors on Thanksgiving instead of Black Friday. Here are the hours for some popular North Georgia shopping centers.
4:00PM ( 9 hours ago )
Man booked on charges in fatal Forsyth County wreck
One of two drivers involved in a fatal traffic accident just off of Georgia 400 in Forsyth County a week ago faced charges in the case Tuesday.
2:25PM ( 10 hours ago )
Stormwater program and fees await Gainesville City Council vote
The Gainesville City Council plans to vote next week on the creation of a Stormwater Management Program and implementation of fees to fund it.
2:07PM ( 11 hours ago )