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Civil visit leads to drug arrests
Dryan Markel Bartley

A trip to a Springfield home to serve civil papers turned into a drug bust for Effingham County Sheriff’s Office deputies Tuesday night.

When deputies arrived at 297 Standard Lane, a group of men who were gathered in the front yard “fled on foot into the neighborhood and into the residence, leaving behind a half-pound of marijuana in the yard,” according to ECSO Chief Investigator Sgt. Don White.

A search of the house turned up more than two pounds of marijuana and a small amount of crack cocaine, White said. Deputies also seized $4,200 in cash.

Antwan Bernard Dillard, 27, Springfield, who lives at the residence, and Dryan Markel Bartley, 37, of Oliver were arrested. They each were charged with possession of marijuana and of cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute both drugs. Dillard also was charged with violating his probation.

The men who fled the scene have not been identified, according to White. Dillard and Bartley both ran into the house when deputies arrived, he said.

“They ran in there with the dope,” White said.

Some of the marijuana was high-grade, giving the seized drugs a street value of about $5,000, according to the ECSO. White had no doubt the suspects were in the midst of a drug deal in the front yard when deputies arrived.

“They were definitely selling it,” he said.

Dillard and Bartley were taken to the Effingham County Jail, and their bonds were set at $16,700 each. Dillard remains in jail and Bartley has been released, according to the ECSO Web site.