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Police blotter, May 26, 2013

Harlem woman killed in crash

Posted: May 25, 2013 - 11:01pm

Harlem woman killed in crash

A Harlem woman was killed in a single-vehicle crash Thursday afternoon.

Dawn Demaggio, 48, of Freeman Harriss Road, was pronounced dead by Columbia County Deputy Coroner Bonnie King.

Just before 4 p.m., Demaggio was driving west on the 5700 block of Wrightsboro Road just west of Water Branch Baptist Church outside Grovetown when she ran off the right side of the road, said Columbia County Sheriff’s Capt. Sharif Chochol.

She apparently over-corrected and crossed over the centerline, with the car spinning sideways and then rolling over multiple times before and landing on its roof facing the opposite direction in the right-side ditch, Chochol said.

It appears Demaggio was not wearing her seatbelt and was dead when emergency responders arrived. The crash remains under investigation.

Five charged with drug trafficking

Columbia County authorities filed drug trafficking charges against four men and a woman after seizing cash, cocaine, heroin and marijuana from a Harlem residence.

Charged Wednesday with trafficking in cocaine and heroine and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute are Alexandra Elena Lopez-Chavez, 47, a resident of the White Road home searched by Columbia County sheriff’s investigators, Capt. Steve Morris said.

Lopez-Chavez was inside the home when investigators, who had obtained a search warrant following an undercover operation, entered about 4 p.m. Wednesday, Morris said.

Four men discovered in a shed near the residence also were arrested, Morris said. In custody are Huber Romero, 34, and Ranulfo Valdovinos-Enriquez, 41, both of the White Road address; Ezequiel Segovia Chavez, 29, of North Augusta; and Luis Emillio Figueroa, 27, of Martinez.

Romero, who initially gave the name Alfredo Reyes-Gomez, also is being charged with giving a false name, Morris said.

All five are being held without bond at the Columbia County Detention Center and authorities are attempting to determine their immigration status, Morris said.

Investigators seized two kilos of cocaine along with approximately one pound of heroin and one pound of marijuana, Morris said. They also discovered 546 small marijuana plants and seized $14,198 in cash and six firearms.

The plants are being sent to the GBI Crime Lab and if they are confirmed to be marijuana, all of those arrested also will be charged with manufacturing marijuana, Morris said.

In addition to the cash, authorities seized a 2003 Nissan Maxima, four pickup trucks, two four-wheelers and a Bobcat utility machine with trailer.

Body found inside home

A Columbia County man was found dead inside his Belair Pines home Wednesday.

Harry Donald Hardin Jr., 49, last was seen alive on May 11, according to Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.

A neighbor called authorities to check on Hardin, who was found in “an advanced state of decomposition,” Collins said. There were no weapons found or indications of suicide or foul play, Collins said.

An autopsy is being conducted at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Atlanta.

The following accounts were taken from the Columbia County Sheriff’s office incident reports:

Woman to face fraud charges

A Walmart employee is under investigation for attempting to receive payment onto an Electronic Benefits Transfer card for fraudulent purchases.

A manager of the Grovetown Walmart reported to Columbia County sheriff’s investigators that the employee had made purchases at the Walmart on Deans Bridge Road in Augusta, and presented the receipt at the Grovetown Walmart to claim she had been charged for items that weren’t on the receipt.

The store credited the amount to the woman’s EBT card, and then reviewed surveillance footage from the Augusta store that showed she had received all of the items listed on the receipt.

The store plans to prosecute.

Man tries to get urine sample

Columbia County investigators are looking for a man who came to a Martinez residence where he previously lived and tried to get a 5-year-old to give him a urine sample to provide in place of his own for a drug test.

The resident of the Marshall Street home said the man, who has been warned several times that he is no longer allowed on the property, came to the home while she was at work. He asked the woman’s 5-year-old daughter to urinate in a cup “so he doesn’t lose his job.”

The girl refused, and the man left.

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