On Jan. 12, Timothy A. Cheatham, 44, Harmony, was arrested by members of the Clay County Sheriff's Department, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Putnam County Sheriff's Department without incident at his residence on an initial charge of class A Dealing Methamphetamine and booked into the Clay County Justice Center.
Cheatham's alleged drug activities in Clay and Putnam counties had been the center of a joint, 18-month investigation by the three agencies.
Officials confirmed they were able to make controlled buys of Methamphetamine and perform several hundred hours of surveillance to build their case against Cheatham. This led officials to obtain two search warrants for Cheatham's Clay County residence and another undisclosed residence in Putnam County.
While serving the search warrants at the two locations, investigators discovered an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and more than $70,000 in cash.
After reviewing a probable cause affidavit for further incarceration prepared by the Clay County Prosecutor's Office, Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout signed the document to keep Cheatham in jail while formal charges could be processed. The initial charges include two counts each of class A felony Dealing Methamphetamine and class C felony Possession of Methamphetamine, along with one count of class D felony Maintaining a Common Nuisance.
Although officials initially believed charges would be formally filed against Cheatham Thursday afternoon, information was still being collected by investigators, leading to the possibility of other charges being filed in the matter.
Cheatham is being currently held at the CCJC on a $100,000 cash bond with no 10 percent allowed while awaiting further court proceedings.
A check of records in Clay and Putnam counties show Cheatham has been in and out of the respective courts for a laundry list of criminal allegations, ranging from misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and reckless driving to felony charges of resisting law enforcement and possession of methamphetamine.
Due to the nature of the case, Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times he believed federal authorities would review the case.
With greater resources to prosecute suspects more aggressively under federal law than individual states, special procedures would have to be implemented.
Because an individual can't be prosecuted in two different courts for the same charges in the same case, County Prosecutor Lee Reberger has previously explained to The Brazil Times that "double jeopardy laws" require one set of charges be dropped.
To allow federal prosecution of the case, the State would need to dismiss local charges against Cheatham to allow the federal courts to prosecute the case to the fullest extent of the law.
While the investigation continues, officials anticipate more arrests as a result of this case.