At least six of nine defendants will spend the weekend in jail after being denied bond Friday in an ongoing racketeering case that prompted the arrest of Hart County Commissioner R.C. Oglesby and several members of his family, among others.
R.C. Oglesby was denied bond Friday afternoon in his first appearance since being arrested Thursday morning on racketeering and shoplifting charges. The racketeering charges are related to an alleged scheme to commit fraud using EBT cards issued by the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
In a bond hearing that began about 1:30 p.m. Friday, Chief Magistrate Judge Thomas Jordan deferred the six defendants who appeared facing RICO charges to Hart County Superior Court, meaning they will spend at a minimum the weekend in jail.
“I’ve got my church I need to get in touch with,” R.C. Oglesby said when told he would not be bonding out. “I’m a pastor at the church.”
Bond was set at $1,500 for one defendant, Tyqushia Fre’sha Oglesby, after she was charged with misdemeanor willful obstruction for allegedly not providing her cellphone to officers and resisting arrest, according to an arrest warrant.
R.C. Oglesby, Steven Oglesby, Amy Oglesby, Yolanda Monique Oglesby, Dasia Oglesby and Nelson Blackwell were all denied bond for their alleged involvement in the racketeering scheme. All of them were charged under RICO, or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Several of the defendants were in tears as Jordan read them their rights and told them what crimes they were accused of committing.
Thomas Strange and Debra Craig who were also arrested in connection with the case did not appear in the bond hearing. Strange is also facing two RICO charges.
Jordan explained during the hearing that because the charges fall under the RICO Act, he would defer bond to the Superior Court.
Oglesby’s attorney, Tim Healy, who represented all clients who appeared on Friday, declined to comment at this time, but noted during the hearing that he was only the attorney for the bond hearing and was uncertain if he would further represent Oglesby.
R.C. Oglesby, 65, who has served as a commissioner since 1989, was arrested at Tenneco at around 8:30 a.m. Thursday as Hart County Sheriff’s deputies, Hartwell Police officers and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents served search and arrest warrants simultaneously at four locations in Hartwell and Hart County.
The raids were the result of six month’s worth of investigation by the agencies that they say revealed evidence that Oglesby and family members were buying and trading drugs for food stamp cards issued through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SNAP program from people to whom they were issued and using the cards to buy food and other items for their businesses. Arrest warrants also claim some of the defendants were buying and selling drugs.
The raids netted nine arrests on Thursday that led to the charges that follow:
• R.C. Oglesby, is facing two counts of racketeering under the RICO Act and 10 counts of shoplifting that allegedly occurred in Hartwell. He was also reportedly had an EBT card on him at the time of his arrest that did not belong to him.
• Steven Oglesby, 41, who is R.C. Ogelsby’s son, faces three counts of racketeering. He allegedly possessed a stolen Glock firearm when he was arrested. Stephen owns R&D Carwash on Anderson Highway.
• Amy Oglesby, 38, Stephen Oglesby’s wife, who owns Ludi’s Soul Food, is charged with 10 counts of racketeering.
• Dasia Oglesby, 21, is charged with one count of racketeering.
• Monique Oglesby, 28, is charged with one count of racketeering.
• Nelson Blackwell is charged with one count of racketeering.
• Thomas Lee Strange is charged with two counts of racketeering.
• Debra Leigh Craig is charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine related objects, according to a jail booking report.
• Tyqushia Fre’sha Oglesby is charged with misdemeanor obstruction of a law enforcement officer by use of threats of violence.
Search warrants were served Thursday at 414 Winding Way, R.C. Oglesby’s home, 1380 North Forest Avenue, Steven Oglesby’s home, and at 2152 and 2132 Anderson Highway, the locations of R&D Car Wash and Ludi’s Soul Food.
Ludi’s Soul Food held the food service contract with Hart County to feed inmates at the county jail until Thursday evening when the Hart County Commission, voted 4-0 in an emergency meeting to terminate it. County Administrator Terrell Partain and the jail manager were given permission to find a temporary replacement for the service until a new contract with a new provider is signed.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also obtained undisclosed amounts of cocaine and marijuana as evidence during the raids on Thursday, according to a press release from the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office.
Investigators are still gathering evidence in the case and Sheriff Mike Cleveland said he expects more arrests to come. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the SNAP program, will also investigate, he said.
Arrest warrants indicate authorities believe Blackwell and Steven Oglesby conspired in an organized manner in violation of racketeering laws on July 23 to sell crack cocaine. Another warrant claims Steven and Amy Oglesby conspired on Aug. 20 to commit financial card transaction fraud by providing an EBT card to a woman that was not issued to her in exchange for marijuana. A third racketeering warrant for Steven Oglesby claims he used his cellphone to facilitate the sale of marijuana. A fourth arrest warrant claims Steven Oglesby took a delivery of cocaine from a man after Oglesby was “paid a sum of money for the powder cocaine.”
Warrants for R.C. Oglesby’s arrest on racketeering charges claim he twice used EBT cards not issued to him from 5-6:30 a.m. on Oct. 16.
Shoplifting arrest warrants issued for R.C. Oglesby claim he “skip-scanned” numerous items on various dates at Walmart self-checkout line between Sept. 30 and Oct. 31. Items include nine boxes of Little Debbie Oatmeal cakes, eight Red Bulls, one case of Great Value brand water, five packs of Carolina brand bacon, one pack of Swaggerty sausage, five Mountain Dews, one Pepsi, four cans of beef stew, one pack of Success Rice, four packs of RW Sausage, one can of pork and beans, six packages of hamburger meat, two packs of ham sandwich meat and cheese, one can of Great Value mushroom soup, two bunches of bananas and four packages of chicken drumsticks. In all the items amounted to more than $215.
Amy Oglesby is accused in 10 arrest warrants of using EBT cards not issued to her between Aug. 18 and Oct. 28 that were provided to her by Steven Oglesby and that he acquired by bartering with marijuana.
Dasia Oglesby is accused in a warrant of working with Steven and Amy in the scheme on Aug. 18 to commit EBT fraud.
A warrant for Monique Oglesby claims she used an EBT card not issued to her on Oct. 16, the same day R.C. Oglesby’s warrant alleges he committed the same crime twice.
Also on Oct. 16, a warrant for Thomas Strange’s arrest claims he used an EBT card illegally as well. Another warrant for Strange claims he and Steven Oglesby provided marijuana to someone in exchange for an EBT card.