Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department

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June 29, 2015

Deputy Rescues Woman From Fire

An off duty Gwinnett County Sheriff’s deputy assisted in the rescue of a woman fleeing her burning home at 176 Westbrook Street in Buford yesterday.

Deputy Kyle McMinn  and his wife, who is pregnant with twins, were driving through Buford when he noticed heavy smoke nearby.  Not hearing responding sirens, he immediately decided to investigate.  When he arrived at the address, the house was engulfed in flames.  He observed a man running around the side of the house towards the backyard, so he responded in that direction.

Deputy McMinn observed two subjects, a male and a female, on the upper deck of the home and a second man, who retrieved an extension ladder to assist with their escape.  The woman carried an oxygen tank with her and appeared to have difficulty moving swiftly down the ladder.  Deputy McMinn assisted in quickly getting her down the ladder, with the second male subject following closely behind her.

Deputy McMinn quickly relocated the woman, followed by the two males and a family pet, to a safe area away from the home and a large propane tank located on the property.  Once Gwinnett County Police officers arrived, Deputy McMinn left the scene to get his wife away from the area.

Deputy McMinn has been employed with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office since 2011, where he has served in the Jail Division until his recent transfer to the Field Operations Division.  He has declined all media interview requests and states, “I feel that I did the same thing anyone else would do.  I will always do anything in my capacity to help others, which is why I entered the law enforcement profession.  I’m just glad that this family is okay.”

Sheriff Butch Conway is pleased with Deputy McMinn’s initiative.  “The fact that he took the time to investigate the source of the smoke, even while off duty, speaks volumes about this deputy’s desire to serve others.  I’m proud of him.”
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May 20, 2015

Phone Scam Alert

For immediate release:

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office is again receiving reports from citizens who have fallen victim to a common telephone scam.  After several months with no reports of this nature, we have received fourteen such reports over the past two weeks.  Three of the victims paid the suspect $1,000.00 each and a fourth victim paid $2,000.00.

The scam begins when the victim receives a call from someone purporting to be from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, most recently identifying himself as “Sgt. Boyd” or “Detective Boyd”.  The caller informs the victim that he has failed to respond to a jury or court summons and that a warrant has been issued for his arrest.  The caller then offers the victim an opportunity to avoid arrest by paying a fine over the phone using a reloadable debit card, usually directing the victim to a Kroger or Food Lion store to purchase multiple reloadable debit cards to pay “fines” ranging from $1,000.00 – $2,000.00.

Once the reloadable debit cards have been purchased, the caller directs the victim to provide the scratch off account numbers located on the back of the debit cards.  Once these numbers are provided to the caller, the scam is complete.  The caller often keeps the victim on the phone for two hours or more during the transaction and instructs the victim to bring proof of the debit card purchase to the sheriff’s office or courthouse for reimbursement.

These callers are very skilled, making them very convincing.  They usually have extensive knowledge of the law enforcement agency they are impersonating and often provide a phone number where they can be reached.  They often use the names of staff members who actually work for the agency they are impersonating.

It is very important that citizens are aware that no local, state or federal law enforcement agency will contact them by phone to request payment over the phone.  Calls of this nature should be considered suspicious and they should not follow instructions to make a payment over the phone.

Any citizen who has received a call of this nature is encouraged to document the caller’s name and the originating phone number and to file a report with their local law enforcement agency.  In Gwinnett County, victims may contact our Investigative Services Unit at 770-619-6655 to file a report.
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For immediate release:

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office is again receiving reports from citizens who have fallen victim to a common telephone scam. After several months with no reports of this nature, we have received fourteen such reports over the past two weeks. Three of the victims paid the suspect $1,000.00 each and a fourth victim paid $2,000.00.

The scam begins when the victim receives a call from someone purporting to be from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, most recently identifying himself as “Sgt. Boyd” or “Detective Boyd”. The caller informs the victim that he has failed to respond to a jury or court summons and that a warrant has been issued for his arrest. The caller then offers the victim an opportunity to avoid arrest by paying a fine over the phone using a reloadable debit card, usually directing the victim to a Kroger or Food Lion store to purchase multiple reloadable debit cards to pay “fines” ranging from $1,000.00 – $2,000.00.

Once the reloadable debit cards have been purchased, the caller directs the victim to provide the scratch off account numbers located on the back of the debit cards. Once these numbers are provided to the caller, the scam is complete. The caller often keeps the victim on the phone for two hours or more during the transaction and instructs the victim to bring proof of the debit card purchase to the sheriff’s office or courthouse for reimbursement.

These callers are very skilled, making them very convincing. They usually have extensive knowledge of the law enforcement agency they are impersonating and often provide a phone number where they can be reached. They often use the names of staff members who actually work for the agency they are impersonating.

It is very important that citizens are aware that no local, state or federal law enforcement agency will contact them by phone to request payment over the phone. Calls of this nature should be considered suspicious and they should not follow instructions to make a payment over the phone.

Any citizen who has received a call of this nature is encouraged to document the caller’s name and the originating phone number and to file a report with their local law enforcement agency. In Gwinnett County, victims may contact our Investigative Services Unit at 770-619-6655 to file a report.

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May 18, 2015

Warrant Sweep

For Immediate Release:

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office has concluded a three day multi-agency warrant sweep that resulted in the arrest of 81 wanted persons and the service of 103 arrest warrants, ranging from Recorder’s Court violations to Manufacturing of Controlled Substances.

On May 12th, 13th and 14th, 60-75 law enforcement officers from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, Gwinnett County Police Department, Lawrenceville Police Department, Duluth Police Department, Suwanee Police Department, Norcross Police Department, Snellville Police Department, Lilburn Police Department, Georgia Department of Pardons and Parole and the Gwinnett Metro Drug Task Force worked together each night to serve outstanding warrants throughout Gwinnett County.

In addition to the successful service of 103 arrest warrants, a marijuana grow house was discovered and leads on fugitives were developed, which are expected to result in additional arrests.

The success of this warrant sweep is attributed to the hard work of everyone involved.  “It’s always good to join forces with multiple agencies to achieve a common goal for the good of our community.  Not only is the additional manpower an asset, it provides the opportunity for local law enforcement agencies to strengthen their working relationships, which also benefits the community,” stated Major Kirk Williamson, Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office Field Operations Division Commander.

Sheriff Butch Conway drove the paddy wagon on Tuesday night, assisting the operating by transporting arrestees to the Gwinnett County Jail.

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office provides warrant service for all law enforcement agencies in Gwinnett County.  Our Field Operations Division serves approximately 3,000 warrants per year.
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April 22, 2015

Gonzalez Arrest

A joint effort between the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service has resulted in the arrest of fugitive Ivan Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was wanted on charges stemming from a February 2011 house fire that killed three children, 21-month-old Stacy Brito, 3-year-old Jose Ivan Guevara and 4-year-old Isaac Guevara.  On scene investigators determined that the fire was caused by the production of Methamphetamine inside the house and that Ivan Gonzalez was one of three adults in the residence producing or processing the drug.  Gonzalez, however, fled the scene before police and fire personnel arrived.

Gwinnett County Police investigators obtained warrants for Gonzalez’s arrest, charging him with (3) counts of Murder, Trafficking Methamphetamine, Trafficking Marijuana, Possession of Methamphetamine and (3) counts of Arson in the 1st Degree – Endangering a Human Life.

Through the course of their investigation, investigators from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office developed leads that Ivan Gonzalez had fled to the Apatzingan, Michoacan area in Mexico, his native country.  Working with the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office, investigators obtained a Provisional Arrest Warrant through the Department of Justice.

In September 2014, Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office deputies received notification from the U.S. Marshals Service Mexico Foreign Field Office that Ivan Gonzalez had been taken into custody by Mexican authorities in the city of Uruapan, Michoacan.  Extradition proceedings commenced and Ivan Gonzalez is currently being booked in at the Gwinnett County Jail.

U.S. Marshals Task Force Commander Keith Booker said, “Today’s arrest was a direct result of the cooperation between state, local and federal law enforcement agencies. We can’t change what happened, but we can make sure that those responsible are held accountable.”

Sheriff Butch Conway has harsher words, saying, “Ivan Gonzalez came to this country illegally where he manufactured and distributed drugs, caused the death of three innocent young children and stained the neighborhood where he burned a house down. Then, like the cockroach that he is, he fled back to his home country to avoid prosecution for the crimes that he committed here. I am glad to welcome him back to America, where I hope he spends the rest of his natural life behind bars.”

April 21, 2015

GMTF Stargell Arrest

The Gwinnett Metro Task Force arrested a Checkers employee for selling drugs from his work place after he sold marijuana to an undercover officer on three separate occasions from the Checkers fast food restaurant at 919 Buford Drive in Lawrenceville.

When he was arrested on April 16th, 34 year old Derek Stargell was in possession of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.  He was charged with (3) counts of Sale of Marijuana and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin, Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession with Intent to distribute Marijuana.  Stargell is currently being held at the Gwinnett County Jail with no bond.

The Gwinnett Metro Task Force is comprised of deputies from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and officers from Lilburn Police Department, Lawrenceville Police Department, Duluth Police Department and Suwanee Police Department.  The Gwinnett Metro Task Force was formed in 2012 to investigate drug and vice complaints in Lilburn, Lawrenceville, Duluth and Suwanee.

April 2, 2015

GJAC Exhibit

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway and the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners placed a wrecked patrol vehicle in front of the Gwinnett County Justice and Administration Center yesterday to serve as a powerful reminder about the importance of safe driving.

Last year, Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Lunt was parked alongside a roadway with his patrol vehicle’s lights activated to provide visibility and protection for a road crew working on the highway. He was struck from behind by a driver who was allegedly under the influence. The driver informed police at the scene that he was changing the music on his phone right before he struck the patrol vehicle.

Deputy Lunt sustained serious injury from the impact of the collision and has not yet returned to duty. In addition to the collision that occurred with Deputy Lunt, 52 Gwinnett County work vehicles have been struck as a result of motorists’ unsafe driving practices since 2000. In 1993, Gwinnett County Police Officer Chris Magill was killed by a drunk driver while waiting in his cruiser for a tow truck to transport the car of another drunk driver.

The Sheriff’s Office is an active supporter of the Move Over Georgia committee, a diverse group that includes personnel from the Sheriff’s Office, County and city police and fire departments, the Georgia State Patrol and Gwinnett County residents. The committee works to educate drivers about Georgia Code, Title 40-6-16, also known as the “Spencer Pass Move-Over Law,” which requires Georgia drivers to move over one lane, if possible, or to slow down below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop when an emergency vehicle with flashing lights is operating on the shoulder of the roadway.

The patrol vehicle that Deputy Lunt was driving will be on display at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center with a banner reinforcing the Move-Over Law message throughout the month of April.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway and the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners placed a wrecked patrol vehicle in front of the Gwinnett County Justice and Administration Center yesterday to serve as a powerful reminder about the importance of safe driving.

Last year, Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Lunt was parked alongside a roadway with his patrol vehicle’s lights activated to provide visibility and protection for a road crew working on the highway. He was struck from behind by a driver who was allegedly under the influence. The driver informed police at the scene that he was changing the music on his phone right before he struck the patrol vehicle.

Deputy Lunt sustained serious injury from the impact of the collision and has not yet returned to duty. In addition to the collision that occurred with Deputy Lunt, 52 Gwinnett County work vehicles have been struck as a result of motorists’ unsafe driving practices since 2000. In 1993, Gwinnett County Police Officer Chris Magill was killed by a drunk driver while waiting in his cruiser for a tow truck to transport the car of another drunk driver.

The Sheriff’s Office is an active supporter of the Move Over Georgia committee, a diverse group that includes personnel from the Sheriff’s Office, County and city police and fire departments, the Georgia State Patrol and Gwinnett County residents. The committee works to educate drivers about Georgia Code, Title 40-6-16, also known as the “Spencer Pass Move-Over Law,” which requires Georgia drivers to move over one lane, if possible, or to slow down below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop when an emergency vehicle with flashing lights is operating on the shoulder of the roadway.

The patrol vehicle that Deputy Lunt was driving will be on display at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center with a banner reinforcing the Move-Over Law message throughout the month of April.

October 29, 2014

Halloween Safety

In preparation for Halloween trick-or-treating fun, Sheriff Butch Conway encourages parents to be aware of the 471 registered sex offenders currently residing in our community.

“We work hard to ensure that registered sex offenders in Gwinnett County are living where they tell us.  It’s important that our citizens know who they are and where they are living,” says Sheriff Conway.  Citizens are encouraged to check any addresses where they or their families spend time, especially in anticipation of Halloween trick-or-treating.

“If you aren’t planning on trick-or-treating in your own neighborhood, but will do so in a different neighborhood, it’s a good idea to check that address beforehand so that you know which houses to avoid,” adds Sheriff Conway.

Citizens can visit our website at www.gwinnettcountysheriff.com and click on the “Sex Offenders” link, select “Search for Offenders in your Area” and follow the instructions to check their neighborhood for offenders.  The site is very user friendly and features many other beneficial tools, such as the ability to sign up for free automatic notifications if an offender moves within a specific radius of any address that you enter.  The alerts are in real time and sent out via e-mail as soon as a new offender has registered with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office.

The site also offers numerous links to year round safety tips for parents and children.  Halloween is a special time of year for many children and we encourage parents to take these simple steps to help ensure a safe and fun night for their families:

•    A responsible adult should accompany children under 12 years old when trick-or-treating
•    Ensure costumes fit well, are flame retardant and never obscure visibility
•    Have your trick-or-treater wear reflective clothing
•    Children over the age of 12 and who are responsible enough to go without you should stay in groups, follow a pre-determined route and watch for cars
•    Check your local law enforcement agency’s website for registered sex offenders in your area
•    Remind children to never enter any home without you or without your permission and to only approach homes that are well lit
•    Let children know to tell a trusted adult if they see anything weird or unusual
•    Teach children to bring treats home before eating them.  Eat only factory-wrapped treats unless you know the giver well
•    Teach your children to say “NO” and “GET AWAY” from any person or situation making them scared, uncomfortable or confused, even if it means yelling, kicking, attracting attention or any other means of resisting.  Teach them to trust their feelings and be sure to tell a trusted adult about any incident
•    Consider safe alternatives to trick-or-treating, such as parties at home, schools or community organized events
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October 7, 2014

Automated External Defibrillators

For immediate release:

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office began issuing automated external defibrillators (AED) today. By the end of next week, all GCSO patrol vehicles will be equipped with this life saving device.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm. If needed, it can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions. The American Heart Association estimates that 568,400 Americans suffered cardiac arrest last year.

One hundred AED units were purchased using drug forfeiture funds. Sheriff Butch Conway says, “If one of these AEDs saves a life, it is a worthwhile expense.”

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October 1, 2014

Beat the Heat NOPI Nationals

For Immediate Release:

Our Beat the Heat team will be competing in the NOPI Nationals Supershow on Friday, September 19 at 6:00 pm at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.

Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Younker will be racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in his modified 2004 VW Jetta (photo attached).  The NOPI National Supershow runs Friday through Sunday and attracts over 30,000 visitors. Deputy Younker is an active member of the Gwinnett County Beat the Heat team, which is a team of local law enforcement officers who volunteer their time to educate our communities about the dangers of illegal street racing, distracted driving and DUI. No tax dollars are used to maintain this program.

Event attendees are encouraged to visit the Gwinnett County Beat the Heat booth, located near the event’s main stage.

For more information about our Beat the Heat team or to schedule them to visit your youth organization, visit www.bthgwinnett.org or follow them on Facebook.
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September 19, 2014

Beat the Heat

For Immediate Release:

Our Beat the Heat team will be competing in the NOPI Nationals Supershow starting on Friday, September 19 at 6:00 pm at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.

Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Younker will be racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in his modified 2004 VW Jetta (photo attached). The NOPI National Supershow runs Friday through Sunday and attracts over 30,000 visitors. Deputy Younker is an active member of the Gwinnett County Beat the Heat team, which is a team of local law enforcement officers who volunteer their time to educate our communities about the dangers of illegal street racing, distracted driving and DUI. No tax dollars are used to maintain this program.

Event attendees are encouraged to visit the Gwinnett County Beat the Heat booth, located near the event’s main stage.

For more information about our Beat the Heat team or to schedule them to visit your youth organization, visit www.bthgwinnett.org or follow them on Facebook.
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