By Joe Johnson
An Athens woman this week was convicted by a federal jury of trafficking methamphetamine resulting from an investigation and subsequent arrest during which she and a co-defendant attempted to flee from police with her two-year-old grandchild in the car.
Authorities said that 52-year-old Kimberly Lynn Garcia of Whitehall Road, would sell meth from her car while her grandchildren were with her.
A jury on Wednesday found Garcia guilty of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession of methamphetamine on Wednesday, concluding a trial that began two days earlier in U.S. District Court in Athens.
She faces a maximum sentence of 40 years imprisonment and a $5,000,000 fine.
A co-defendant, Corey Demetrious Gresham, 38, also of Athens, previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a $5,000,000 fine. Sentencings have yet to be scheduled.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, information provided by a confidential source sparked an investigation by Athens-Clarke County police into the woman’s drug distribution activities in June 2020. The informant told police that Garcia often sold methamphetamine with her grandchildren in the car at the Airport Mini Mart on Winterville Road.
The following month, while under surveillance by law enforcement, Garcia and Gresham reportedly drove to an apartment complex in Lawrenceville, where she was seen entering the home of a known meth supplier along with a person associated with the Sureños street gang and exiting with a bag.
On their return trip to Athens, deputies with the Oconee County Sheriff's Office attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a Kia Sorento being driven by Gresham on Georgia Highway 316 because it was raining heavily but the vehicle’s headlights weren’t on.
A high-speed chase ensued into Athens, where police said Gresham bailed from the SUV on Fairfield Circle, where Garcia stopped the vehicle before it crashed into a telephone pole.
Gresham, who police said had outstanding arrest warrants ran inside a family member's nearby home but was taken into custody.
Garcia remained in the SUV with her two-year-old grandchild in the backseat. Officers recovered 37.94 grams of methamphetamine and drug distribution supplies that included baggies and a spoon. A search of Garcia's phone reportedly found many communications about trafficking methamphetamine with Gresham and others.
The case was investigated by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, Oconee County
Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.