By Gerri Miller
An Autauga County property raided by more than 60 law enforcement officers this morning has been a long-standing source of problems not only for Autauga County but neighboring counties as well, Autauga Assistant District Attorney C.J. Robinson said today.
“We have intel that stolen property is routinely dumped there,” he said. “We’ve done searches of this property dating back to a year ago.” Authorities also suspect drug activity has been taking place for several months which was what led to Thursday’s raid.
The 40-acre site known as the “Farm” is south of Prattville in the city’s Police Jurisdiction off County Road 4.
Prattville Chief Mark Thompson said the Farm has been a source of ongoing problems for Prattville. “There have been several drug arrests and we’ve hit it before on stolen property charges.”
Thompson said suspects from the Farm were also part of a large scale multi-jurisdictional theft ring which targeted catalytic converters from vehicles. The Prattville Police Department, along with the assistance of the Montgomery Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office made several arrests earlier this month in connection with the theft ring.
More than a dozen people were detained during the Thursday raid while 5-6 were arrested, Thompson said. Thompson said he anticipates 10-12 arrests before everything is done.
Robinson said it may take awhile to get the suspects’ charges sorted out. “We have 40 acres to search. In addition, we must investigate the suspects’ phones,” he said.
There are also barns, camper trailers and other structures that must be secured and searched, Robinson said. Robinson said he also anticipates that the property will be seized.
Flash-bang grenades were thrown into the wood-frame home. It was reported that the explosions could be heard by gathering reporters two miles away. Officers wearing face masks walked around the property armed with shotguns and semi-automatic rifles.
Autauga County Sheriff Joe Sedinger said the Farm has been a source of narcotics arrests. “We’ve had several cases and there is a criminal element that hangs out up there,” he said. He said officers are close to finished with the search of the property and he anticipates arrest announcements tomorrow.