Arrest Made After Unknown Substance Found During A Search at Local Vape Shop Adversely Affects Five Public Safety Officers
9/14/2018 ~ by Sgt. Jody Weaver – Administrative Services Division – Pickens Sheriff’s Office
During an extensive investigation regarding the potential possession and distribution of controlled substances and other criminal activity, a search warrant was executed today at the A-1 Smoke Shop, located at 684 West Church Street, Jasper, Georgia. Controlled and banned items were confiscated as part of the search warrant process.
As a result of the ongoing investigation, the Pickens Sheriff’s Office currently has Mr. Atulkumar Jayan Patel in custody for a felony warrant of manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing controlled substances, and a second felony warrant for distribution of Nitrous Oxide.
We would also like to inform the community that all five (5) of the public safety personnel sent to the hospital following exposure have been released from the hospital at this time. Substances have been collected and sent to the GBI Crime Lab Forensics Division for further lab testing so as to properly identify the substance. The Pickens Sheriff’s Office, and all the local public safety departments are extremely grateful for the prayers and well-wishes we have, and continue, to receive.
This investigation is active and ongoing, therefore additional charges may be forthcoming. We will update as information becomes available.
"Pickens County law enforcement have encountered a suspected unknown drug substance during execution of a search warrant – Deputies and other public safety adversely affected."
On the morning of Friday, September 14, 2018, the Drug Task Force, along with the Pickens Sheriff’s Office and the City of Jasper Police Department executed a search warrant at the A-1 Smoke Shop located at 684 West Church Street in Jasper, Georgia.
During the search of the premises, a Detective with the Pickens Sheriff’s Office came in contact with an unknown substance which immediately resulted in the Detective experiencing adverse health conditions and symptoms. The affected Detective was transported to the local hospital for immediate treatment. Public safety personnel who were exposed while treating the affected Detective also began experiencing similar reactions. As of this release, two Detectives, a DTF Agent and two EMS personnel are being treated now for symptoms.
The Cherokee County Hazardous Materials Team has dispatched to the scene to assist, along with all surrounding public safety agencies including the Pickens Fire & EMS and City of Jasper Fire.
Businesses in close proximity to the location have been evacuated as a safety precaution, and Haz-Mat teams are preparing to enter the premises to thoroughly investigate and identify the cause of the health issues with our public safety personnel.
As this is an active investigation, more information will be provided as it becomes available.