GBI Southwestern Regional Drug Enforcement Office Arrests Police Officer for Sale of Marijuana

Published 1:27 pm Thursday, February 3, 2022


Press release fron Georgia Bureau of Investigation

FEBRUARY 02, 2022

Warwick, GA (February 2, 2022) – On Friday, January 28, 2022, the GBI Southwestern Regional Drug Enforcement Office (SWRDEO), arrested Leon Mitchell, age 32, of Albany, GA on the following charges:

Two counts of sale/distribution of marijuana, one count possession with intent to distribute marijuana, four counts possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, three counts violation of oath of office, and two counts use of a communication device during the commission of a felony.

The GBI SWRDEO received information that Mitchell was selling marijuana while on duty and in uniform as a police officer for the Warwick Police Department. During the investigation, agents began obtaining marijuana from Mitchell in Worth County and in Lee County.

The investigation culminated with the arrest of Mitchell at the Warwick Police Department and a search of the vehicle Mitchell was driving. Additional marijuana, scales, and plastic bags were located within the vehicle. Mitchell was booked into the Worth County Jail. This investigation is ongoing and will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office when complete.

The SWRDEO would like to thank the investigative support and cooperation provided by the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Worth County Sheriff’s Office, and the Warwick Police Department.

The GBI Southwestern Regional Drug Enforcement Office is in Albany, Georgia and services 42 counties in Southwest Georgia and is partially funded with Byrne/JAG grant funds.

Tips can also be submitted to the GBI by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), online at, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.


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Beal-Shephard tries to weather the storm over City HallBy Neil B. McGahee Managing Editor Cordele City Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shephard was elected in 2001 to represent the people of Ward One. By all accounts, she has done a very good job of relating to the citizens living in her ward. Recently, however, a dark cloud has settled over City Hall. From the first day of his term, newly-elected commission chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso began taking verbal snipes on social media at some of the other commissioners. Shephard says she just ignored it at first but on April 9, Deriso posted on Facebook “…It was much anticipated for Comm. Rainey to be against change. Comission (sp) Shephard fights against me the hardest…does not know much about government at all…She needs to be voted out next year 2023.” A few days later, he posted live saying …“I am totally over the games, the political stuff…a lot of people want to make what I said about Commissioner Shephard something about disagreement with Commissioner Shephard. It was her ignorance and short-sightedness…not able to understand what we can do as a government. “When there were people in charge that didn’t look like us…white people… she didn’t question anything. Since I became chairman, she has blocked everything…you don’t know what you are doing; you don’t know what you are talking about.” Shephard winces as she listens to Deriso. “I don’t do drama and I don’t do pettiness,” she said. “I refute everything he has said about me. I’m not angry with Josh; I am somewhat disturbed that he has targeted me, a citizen of Cordele; a black female…he accused me of loving white folks. Well I do love white folks, and brown folks and black folks — Haitian, Jamaican, Indian, Cuban, Mexican — I have no discrimination to anyone. My job is to facilitate for people in this ward and when I vote, I vote my conviction.” Shephard said she doesn’t know why Deriso has such hard feelings against her. “It’s so sad, I have to say that I never saw it coming,” she said. ”But I have to voice my opinion.” But one sad thing has evolved from this. “This is the first time I have been discriminated against by a fellow commissioner,” she said. “I used to invite people to my home if they had a problem. But I had to stop that. If you want to meet with me, we will have to go to a public area or to my office at city hall. I am going to keep my distance for the simple reason that I don’t want to endanger myself.