NWGA Scanner | January 30th, 2022

Traffic stop by Floyd County K-9 officer leads to over a pound of meth and trafficking charges for Rome man

According to a Floyd County Police Department incident report, On January 14th, 2022, at around 6:55 PM, while on patrol K-9 Lt. Hovers observed a dark-colored car traveling south on Martha Berry Road and entering right onto GA 1 loop (which turns into Redmond Cir) and observed it crossing over the white fog line once. Lt. Hovers reported, “A short time later [I] decided to activate my patrol vehicle’s camera in hopes to catch the vehicle violating the traffic infraction again. At this time, [I] continued to follow the vehicle but observed nothing, so [I] decided to shut off the camera. No sooner as the camera was shut off, the vehicle crossed over the line again, but this time [I] could see why. While still behind him, [I] again activated my camera and observed his cell phone attached to some type of phone holder mounted between his front center air vents. Also, [I] was able to observe that he was watching some type of show because the screen continued to change colors which were not consistent with GPS. After passings through the intersection of Redmond Cir and GA 1 Loop, [I] activated my blue lights and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The vehicle in question finally stops after turning off of Redmond and onto Technology. Once stopped, [I] exited my vehicle [I] approached the driver. Upon contact, [I] could smell marijuana coming from inside the vehicle and observed his cell phone mounted near the air vents playing a movie which explains the reason he was not keeping his eyes on the road.” The driver, identified as convicted felon Jonathan Benjamin Whatley, 37, Rome, was removed from his vehicle, and he stated he had nothing illegal inside the vehicle. According to the report, During this contact, the K-9 officer observed Whatley sweating profusely on his bald head while it was around 40 degrees. Lt. Hovers reported, “During the search of the cab of the vehicle, a small baggie of marijuana was recovered from the driver side coin holder (just left of the steering wheel). During the search of the trunk, a black computer bag with narcotics was located inside. One container held several small individual baggies of meth and one container held several small individual baggies of marijuana. Both were repackaged for resale.” According to the report, the Rome Floyd County Metro Drug Task Force (RFMDTF) was contacted. During his investigation RFMDTF Sgt. Henry collected the key to the Whatley’s room at the SAGA Inn, and a search warrant was obtained for the location. Whatley was transported to the Floyd County Jail charged with possession of meth, possession of meth with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, trafficking methamphetamine, trafficking marijuana, possession of drug-related objects, and probation violation. According to the report, a search warrant was being obtained and upon searching the room, around 1.5lbs of meth, couple ounces of marijuana, and two scales were recovered by the K-9. According to online arrest records, in 2020, Whatley was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, possession of meth with intent to distribute, trafficking meth, possession of marijuana, possession of drug-related objects, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. According to reports, officers found a handgun a large amount of methamphetamine and marijuana at Budget Inn on Martha Berry Blvd.