Sonny Bennett

Name:
Bennett, Sonny Ray

Date of Booking:
8/18/2021

Reason(s) For Booking:
Possession Marijuana less than 1 ounce

Obstruction of Officers-(M)

Tampering with evidence

Giving False Name, Address/DOB to Officers

Probation Violation

Officer’s Narrative:
[Please note: The following is a direct transcription from the officer’s narrative report. We do not fix any spelling or grammatical errors. Any changes made by our staff are placed inside brackets.]

On 06-18-2021 at 14:54 hours, I, Deputy Austin Smith, was employed by the Houston County Sheriff’s Office and assigned to the Traffic Division. I was in a marked patrol unit #941, in my Houston County Sheriff’s Office uniform and had my badge displayed. I was inside of Houston County, Georgia.

FIRST OBSERVATIONS:

Approximately 20 minutes prior to the time of the incident, I was at the Circle K gas station at 2390 Houston Lake Road, Perry GA. My patrol car was parked on the north side of the building. As I got into my patrol vehicle, I saw a black in color Chevrolet Tahoe drive around the corner of the store, towards the back exit of the parking lot. As my patrol came into the view of the driver of the Tahoe, the driver hit the brakes, before driving past my patrol car. I recognized the Tahoe and knew it was registered to, and often driven by, Rudy Acebedo.

The front windows of the Tahoe were down, allowing me to clearly see the driver, who began leaning back in the seat and staring at me as he drove past. As the Tahoe drove slowly past my patrol car, I turned around as if to follow it out of the parking lot. As I got behind the Tahoe, it made an abrupt turn around the back of the store, as if to drive around the back of the store. The way the driver looked at me; as if he had seen a ghost, and the way he turned behind the store once I got behind him, led me to believe he was avoiding me.

I turned out of the gas station and drove north on Houston Lake Road where I pulled over and ran the tag number of the Tahoe. The Tahoe was registered to Rudy Acebedo. I ran Rudy’s Georgia license number through GCIC. GCIC showed that Rudy’s driver’s license was suspended for Implied Consent. GCIC also showed that Rudy had an open arrest warrant through Warner Robins Police Department for driving under the influence. I was able to look at the license photo attached to Rudy’s driver’s license and verify that the male I had seen driving the Tahoe at the gas station was in fact Rudy. Moments later, the Tahoe passed my parked patrol car, traveling north on Houston Lake Road. The front windows of the Tahoe were still down, allowing me to see that Rudy was still driving the vehicle. I notified Deputy Gilbert (HCSO TRAFF) of my intention to conduct a traffic stop on the Tahoe.

I followed the Tahoe north on Houston Lake Road to Highway 96 where it turned west onto Highway 96, towards Deputy Gilbert. While behind the Tahoe I noticed that the tag had black spray paint on it. The taillights on the Tahoe were also partially coated in black spray paint. I continued following the Tahoe west on Highway 96 to the intersection of Highway 96 and Sutherlin Drive where it made a U-turn. I conducted a traffic stop on the Tahoe as it made a U-turn. The stop came to rest in the parking lot of 866 Highway 96 (Casa Mexico).

OBSERVATIONS AFTER THE STOP

I exited my patrol car and approached the passenger side of the Tahoe. Deputy Gilbert approached the Tahoe on the driver’s side. The front driver’s and passenger windows of the Tahoe were all the way down. The rear passenger window of the Tahoe was only partially down. Due to the dark window tint, I could not see completely into the back seat area of the Tahoe, but I could see the top of a male’s head, slumped over in the rear passenger seat. It appeared as if the male was reaching under the rear seat for something.

I instructed the driver to roll the rear windows all the way down. The driver complied. I told the male in the rear passenger seat to sit up and put his hands on the back of the passenger seat. The male complied. There was a male in the rear driver’s side seat, a female in the rear middle seat, and the male in the rear passenger seat. There was also a male in the front passenger seat. I asked the driver if his name was Rudy Acebedo. The driver said yes. I instructed Rudy to step out of the vehicle towards Deputy Gilbert. Deputy Gilbert took Rudy into custody.

Once Rudy was taken into custody, I began speaking to the male in the front rear passenger seat. I explained to the male why Rudy was being taken into custody. The male asked to light a cigarette. I requested he not light the cigarette. In my experience, the odor of cigarette smoke can commonly be used to cover other odors such as that of marijuana.

I then spoke with the male in the rear passenger seat. The male was sweating profusely from his forehead. I asked the male if he was okay. The male stated he was fine, just sleepy. The male seemed to me to be under the influence of an intoxicating substance. The male’s demeanor was very lethargic and sluggish. His speech was very thick and slurred. His pupils were extremely constricted, nearly pinpoint in size. All of these signs were consistent with the effects of a narcotic. The male was wearing a bracelet that appeared to be from a hospital. I could see the name “Sonny Bennett” on the bracelet.

I asked the occupants if any of them had a valid license. None of the occupants said they had a valid license. I asked the occupants if they had identification on them. The front seat passenger provided me with his name, Luis Acosta. The male in the rear passenger seat provided me with the name, Brian Nasworthy, and the date of birth of [REDACTED BY AGENCY]1987. The female in the rear middle seat and the male in the rear driver’s side seat were identified by Georgia driver’s license as Stephanie Nicole Loy and Michael Paul Caudle.

I returned to my patrol car and began verifying all the occupants. I requested dispatch to have a K9 officer from Warner Robins Police Department (WRPD) be in route due to my suspicions that there was possibly narcotics inside the vehicle. GCIC showed that all the occupants’ driver’s licenses were suspended. Upon running “Brian Nasworthy’s” driver’s license, I noticed there was no license photo. This appeared suspicious to me because “Brian Nasworthy” was wearing a hospital bracelet that had the name “Sonny Bennett” on it. I had dispatch search the local CAD history for history with “Sonny Bennett”.

I returned to the Tahoe and continued speaking with “Brian”. I asked him why he was wearing a hospital bracelet with someone else’s name on it. “Brian” said he found the bracelet on the ground and put it on because it helped him when he was panhandling. I noted that the bracelet did not appear to be torn, taped, or otherwise manipulated. Typically, bracelets such as these have to be torn off to be removed and cannot be reattached once they’re torn.

I requested “Brian” step out of the car. Dispatch located the requested history and provided me with a Georgia license number for “Sonny Bennett”. Dispatch was also able to tell from previous booking information that “Sonny Bennett” had quite a few distinct tattoos. Dispatch said “Sonny Bennett” had tattoos on his face and on his arm. “Brian” had the same exact tattoos described by dispatch. I confirmed that “Brian” was actually Sonny Bennett. Dispatch confirmed that Sonny Bennett had an open arrest warrant for probation violation through Houston County Georgia. I took Sonny into custody in hand cuffs in the rear. I had Sonny stand at the front of Deputy Gilbert’s patrol car.

I advised Sonny of his Miranda Rights and asked if he was willing to speak to me without a lawyer present. Sonny said yes. Sonny was still sweating profusely and was very unstable on his feet. I asked Sonny if he was okay. Sonny said he was not okay. I asked why. Sonny said he had just ate “a gram and three points of heroin” as I was pulling them over. I requested dispatch have EMS in route due to the possibility that Sonny was likely experiencing the effects of an overdose. I asked Sonny what form the heroin was in. Sonny said powder form, wrapped in a cellophane packaging.

I asked Sonny if he was sure the substance was heroin. Sonny said the substance was more than likely a mixture of heroin and fentanyl because that’s what his drug of choice was. I asked Sonny why he ate the heroin. Sonny said he did not want to go to jail for a drug charge. I took the hand cuffs off Sonny and had him take off the coat he was wearing so he could cool down. I put the hand cuffs back on Sonny, but in the front. I had Sonny lean against the front bumper of Deputy Gilbert’s patrol car. I had Deputy Gilbert and Cpl Mitchellson detain the remaining occupants in hand cuffs.

At 15:25 Houston County Fire Department (HCFD) arrived and began rendering aid to Sonny, but they did not have Narcan. I had Sonny sit on the front bumper of Deputy Gilbert’s patrol car with HCFD and a WRPD officer while I went to speak with Deputy Gilbert. Deputy Gilbert said Michael told him that if there was anything illegal inside the vehicle, it belonged to Sonny.

Deputy Gilbert said Stephanie told him that when they were being stopped, Sonny had a needle in his hand. Stephanie told Deputy Gilbert that Sonny had possibly hid the needle somewhere in the back seat. Stephanie also told Deputy Gilbert that the purse, which was sitting in the back seat floorboard where she was originally seated, belonged to her. I then went to speak with Luis. Luis did not wish to speak to me without a lawyer present. With all the information provided and Sonny’s admission to eating narcotics, I believed there was more than sufficient probable cause to conduct a search of the Tahoe.

At 15:44 Houston County EMS arrived on scene. Due to Sonny’s condition, I determined he would be charged and arrested on a later date. I turned Sonny over to EMS personnel to be treated. I then began a probable cause search of the Tahoe. I began my search of the passenger side front seat area. Deputy Gilbert assisted with the search, beginning on the driver’s side front seat area. In the front passenger side floorboard, I located a black book bag. Inside the large zipper pocket of the bookbag, I located a bundle of zip lock bags. The bags were marijuana dispensary style bags, labeled with the “strain” and the amount of marijuana contained. All the bags were empty.

In the front, smaller pocket of the bookbag, I located two similar bags of marijuana. Each of these bags contained a small amount of marijuana. In the same pocket, I located a glass smoking pipe. I collected the empty bags, the smoking pipe, and the bags of marijuana. Since the bag was located at the feet of Luis, I determined he would be charged with the marijuana. I requested Deputy Boyd (HCSO) be in route to assist with transport. Upon his arrival, I turned Rudy and Luis over to Deputy Boyd for transport to the Houston County Detention Center.

During a further search of the vehicle, Deputy Gilbert located a hypodermic needle in the driver’s side front door. Deputy Gilbert located a bag of marijuana in the passenger floorboard, near where Michael and Stephanie were seated. Inside the purse that Stephanie had claimed, Deputy Gilbert located small jeweler’s bag. The bag was red in color and contained an unknown powder substance. Although we were unable to test the substance, it is believed to be either heroin or methamphetamine. When asked about the marijuana Deputy Gilbert had located in the rear floorboard, Stephanie and Steven said it was not theirs. Since the marijuana was located where Stephanie and Steven were seated, I determined both of them would be charged with it. Since Stephanie had claimed the purse, I determined she would be charged with the unknown substance Deputy Gilbert had located inside the purse.

I transported Stephanie and Steven to the Houston County Detention Center where I completed all necessary paperwork. Since I was unable to test the substance inside the needle and the substance in the red jeweler’s bag, I did not charge anyone with it. All occupants of the vehicle were charged with possession of marijuana less than one ounce. Rudy was additionally charged with driving while license suspended, alteration of tags, and window tint. All parties and their belongings were turned over to the booking staff. I transported all collected evidence to the Houston County Sheriff’s Office where I entered it into evidence.

The substance inside the needle was transferred into a secured container per GBI evidence guidelines. The substance from the needle and the substance in the red jeweler’s bag will be sent to the GBI for testing. Pending the results of the testing, I will be securing warrants for the appropriate charges on Rudy and Stephanie.

VEHICLE STATUS:

Rudy’s vehicle was turned over to his sister, [WITNESS #1], at the scene. Prior to turning the vehicle over to [WITNESS #1], I tested the window tint on the front driver’s side window. The window tint was 13% light transmission.

INCIDENT RECORDED ON UNIT #941

Deputy Austin Smith #9486