NWGA Scanner | December 29th, 2021

Chattooga County deputies catch Atlanta trio attempting to smuggle contraband into Hays State Prison

According to a Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office incident report, on Saturday, December 18th, 2021, at approximately 7:19 AM, Corporal Nicole Flood was dispatched to Walmart located at 13427 Highway 27 in Trion in reference to a suspicious vehicle. According to the report, “Authorities from Hays State prison had called and advised they observed some subjects in their perimeter and believed the vehicle and the female inside were related.” Corporal Flood and Deputy Starkey arrived at Walmart and met with the female, later identified as Lauren Christina Cherry, 29, of Atlanta. Corporal Flood reported, “Upon speaking to Cherry in the vehicle, we detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Deputy Starkey asked her why she was parked in the Walmart Parking lot and why she was here in Chattooga County. Miss Cherry advised she needed an oil change and was waiting for Walmart to open. [I] asked Miss Cherry where the marijuana was, and she handed me a small roach piece and small bud in a bag.” Cherry then advised that she had given a ride to two subjects, but they left walking across Highway 27 into the wooded area across from Walmart going towards the prison, according to the report. While searching the car, more marijuana was found in a bag containing a wallet with Douglas Wiggins’ (27, of Atlanta) ID in it. The marijuana was vacuumed sealed and found to weigh well over an ounce, according to the report. The GDC personel had a K-9 unit en route to search the prison grounds. Deputy Marvin Armstrong also arrived on the scene to assist units. Trion PD units were also notified to help search the area for the two men. At this time, two black males ran across the parking lot on the Northside by Murphy’s gas station. According to the report, “Deputy Armstrong and Deputy Starkey went after the two men who crossed Highway 27 into a wooded area going towards the prison. A short way into the woods, Deputy Armstrong, was able to catch and detain one of the men, later identified as Travis Flanagan, 32, of Atlanta.” Corporal Flood reported, “As we were retracing our path back to the vehicles with the subject in custody, we found a .380 M&P BodyGuard pistol. The pistol was loaded with one in the chamber and 5 in the magazine. The pistol was dry and lying on top of the tall grass. It was raining hard all morning, and the field was flooded. Mr. Flanagan began saying, “that isn’t mine.”” According to the report, “At approximately 8:27 AM, Chattooga E-911 received a call from “Deborah” saying that she had just witnessed a murder at Walmart. 911 operator advised it sounded like a male caller and sounded to be out of breath. The phone pinged in the field across from Walmart. Deputy Armstrong attempted to call the subject, but they kept hanging upon him. They believe it was Mr. Wiggins trying to call to distract them away from the area he was at.” A GDC K-9 officer tracked to the wooded area near the bank where two witnessed advised they say the man. Deputy Armstrong spotted Wiggins and advised he was running through the field towards Walmart. Corporal Flood reported she followed in her patrol truck, watching him. Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force Commander Caine Railey was able to get over the fence and arrest Wiggins. Wiggins, Flanagan, and Cherry were all transported to the Chattooga County Jail and booked. All three individuals are charged with felony giving inmates liquor, drugs, weapons, or phones without consent of a warden, felony use of communication facilities in the commission of a felony, felony purchase, sale, manufacturing, or distribution of marijuana, and felony possession of more than one ounce of marijuana. Wiggins was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. According to GDC records, Wiggins had just been released from Hays State Prison in October after serving eight years for a Fulton County child molestation charge. According to a booking report, Flanagan was placed on hold for Douglas County, Georgia.