GPD C.A.G.E. Unit agent said he took suspect’s money during Econo Lodge drug search warrant

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Profanity laced text messages sent from a city of Griffin cell phone that was issued to an officer in the Griffin Police Department Criminal Apprehension and Gang Enforcement (C.A.G.E.) Unit show two agents taunting suspects in a narcotics case.

In two of those text messages, an agent claimed to have taken money and a firearm recovered during a Dec. 2, 2021, search at a local motel.

A review of the case incident report did cite the recovery of a firearm that was listed as seized evidence.

That report did not mention any seized money being turned in as evidence in the case.

It is unknown which GPD officer sent the text messages, but the cell phone in question is assigned to C.A.G.E. Unit Agent Josh Holley.

Holley was riding in a two-man unit with Agent Brian Dorety on Dec. 2, 2021, when the C.A.G.E. Unit conducted a “knock and talk encounter” at room 210 of the Griffin Econo Lodge.

Dorety originally claimed the Econo Lodge “knock and talk” was related to a report of a 15-year-old female and 19-year-old Caleb Sanford possibly being together at the motel.

It was later learned that it was instead a narcotics case and that the information upon which Dorety’s investigation was based had been obtained from an unidentified informant.

That informant was discovered to be Toni Berryman, Dorety’s girlfriend.

Berryman had been in an earlier relationship and shared a child with Thomas Taylor, a man targeted in Dorety’s investigation.

After the search of the motel room concluded, Dorety and Holley returned to GPD headquarters where they conducted a “probable cause search” of Taylor’s van.

At 5:13 p.m., while they were searching Thomas Taylor’s belongings, Holley is heard on body worn camera saying, “I think I’m gonna try and call them again and be like, hey, just want to double check before we toss your stuff in the dumpster. Y’all coming to get it or not?“

Dorety replied, “Go for it,” to which Holley said, “I think it’s worth a shot.”

Approximately half an hour later, at 5:44 p.m., a series of text messages including banter about drugs, criminal charges and the taking of a suspect’s belongings during the execution of a search warrant were sent from Holley’s city of Griffin issued cell phone.

The text message stream can be viewed at the link below. Readers should be aware that the text messages exchanged by the Griffin Police Department C.A.G.E. Unit agent and narcotics suspect include extremely graphic profanity and other language that some may find offensive. The GPD officer’s messages are on the left-hand side and have a dark gray background. The suspect’s messages are on the right-hand side and have a green background.

https://fb.watch/cuxfPfuhPJ/


The text messages involved a cell phone number that the GPD officer said had been confirmed as that of 19-year-old suspect Caleb Sanford.

That text message exchange began with the officer saying, “20 is up, your stuff will be in dumpster tired and ready to leave”

The person believed to be Sanford soon responded by saying, “Imma beat yo ass” among other things.

The officer replied, “I’m at Walmart right now if you wanna push up”

After several more text messages were exchanged, the officer said, “Looking at a computer with that money I took from the room too”

He then sent a photograph of a computer display in a Wal-Mart electronics department.

That was followed by another text from the officer saying, “Got that gun too gonna sell it”

The suspect responded with three consecutive messages saying:
“Preciate that”
“Finna show this to the police”
“Dumb f*ck”

After the agent mocked the suspect, saying he would not make that report because he was wanted by the police, the suspect said his grandmother would make the report.

“Promisha the police gone see all this shii,” the suspect wrote.

The officer replied, “I ain’t worried. They in my pocket”

The suspect was then sent a selfie of Officer Josh Holley and Officer Brian Dorety in full uniform along with the text message, “We gone get chuuuuuu.”

Sanford was never apprehended and the 34 charges against him were later dismissed when Dorety’s relationship with Berryman was discovered after Thomas Taylor committed suicide on Dec. 17.

An additional 64 charges against three other suspects in Dorety’s narcotics case were also dismissed.

The GRIP originally acquired a stream of these text messages from a confidential source.
The necessary authentication of those text messages was sought from the city of Griffin through an Open
Records request (ORR).
The city responded to that original ORR with a cost estimate of $480.
The GRIP Publisher Sheila Mathews submitted a revised ORR with a greatly reduced scope, foregoing many records she wished to review, but she did eventually obtain records authenticating the text messages at a cost of $61.86.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE – This is the third article in an investigative series. The first two articles can be read at the links below. Additional articles related to this and other Griffin Police Department C.A.G.E. Unit cases are forthcoming.

https://the-grip.net/2022/04/14/misconduct-in-gpd-c-a-g-e-unit-tied-to-dismissal-of-nearly-100-charges-linked-to-mans-death-family-says/
https://the-grip.net/2022/04/14/breaking-news-district-attorney-seeking-gbi-investigation-of-gpd-c-a-g-e-unit-case/


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Comments

  1. Danielle S says:

    Hey Shelia,
    The links to the photos aren’t working.

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