More than 60 people went to jail on drug charges Sunday after Cartersville police say they found marijuana, suspected cocaine and two firearms at a weekend birthday party.
Widespread drug use in “plain view” led officers to call the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force, Major Mark Mayton said Tuesday in a news release.
But some of the partygoers who now face charges say they had no idea about illegal activity.
Host Deja Heard told Channel 2 Action News she rented the house via airbnb for her 21st birthday party Saturday.
About 2:20 a.m., someone called 911 to report shots fired and police responded to the house on Cain Drive in Cartersville, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.
Authorities said a warrant was obtained and they found two firearms, one of which had been reported stolen from Detroit. Individually packaged marijuana and several smoking devices were found throughout most of the first-floor rooms, Mayton said.
Also, police said they found individual packages of suspected cocaine and related paraphernalia on partygoers.
Heard said she assumed police would simply shut down the party and send everyone home.
“All the subjects at the residence were placed under arrest for the possession of the suspected marijuana which was within everyone’s reach or control,” Mayton said.
He added that many of the people, who were all between the ages of 15 and 31, refused to identify themselves or show identification.
One partygoer, Nija Guider, told the news station they didn’t even know what they were going to jail for. She said she hadn’t seen a copy of a warrant and didn’t know why she and her friends were detained.
“I was thinking, ‘I know I am not getting locked up for something I did not do,’” Guider said.
She said the arrests weren’t right and that the partygoers were all innocent.
Some said they lost jobs because of the arrests and hired lawyers to fight the charges, Channel 2 reported.
Dakelin Wells said he is about to graduate from college and was embarrassed by the arrest.
“I had my cousin with me,” Wells said. “He’s in the military, so it just sucked we had to go through it that way.”
Those who were arrested received bond information by 5 p.m. Monday, Mayton said.
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