published Monday, September 12th, 2011

Ringgold football player arrested on drug charges

  • photo
    Jermichael Tillery is charged with conspiracy to posses and distribute marijuana.
    Contributed Photo

A Ringgold High School football player arrested Friday on drug charges was suspended from the team in August, school officials said.

Jermichael Tillery, a senior linebacker, was charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana, an incident report shows.

The charges stem from an alleged drug deal at a Catoosa County car wash in August, in which Tillery planned to sell an ounce of marijuana, said Lookout Mountain Judicial Drug Task Force Commander Larry Black. But the drug deal went wrong and Tillery sped away, leaving at the scene a gun he had brought with him, Black said.

Catoosa School Superintendent Denia Reese said in a prepared statement that any student involved in active law enforcement investigations for drug-related charges is suspended from school and extracurricular activities pending the outcome.

Tillery hasn’t played in the first two football games of the season because he was suspended at the beginning of the year, said Catoosa County Schools spokeswoman Marissa Brower.

Tillery’s original suspension wasn’t related to the investigation, but Brower declined to say what it was for.

A police report on the alleged drug deal first was filed Aug. 17. It says that 23-year-old Bradley Jones was washing his tires at the Wet and Wild car wash when he was threatened by an acquaintance who had a gun.

Another man and his wife, who were at the car wash, heard a fight between Jones and another young man — later identified as Tillery — and the man held them both down while his wife called 911, the incident report said.

After a three-week investigation, investigators believe Tillery was trying to sell marijuana to Jones, but the two had started fighting and Tillery produced a gun, Black said.

Jones since has been arrested, officials said. He has a record of arrests in Catoosa County, including stalking Black at his home and talking pictures of his house, records show.

Black caught Jones outside his house and drew his pistol, telling the man to leave, then reported the case to police, an incident report shows. Black had been investigating Jones for a separate drug-related case from December, the report stated.

The August incident is still under investigation, and Black said more arrests could be forthcoming.

“This should be a warning to our high school kids and young adults about the dangers of selling and distributing marijuana,” Black said.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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