An Acworth man, Thomas Ernest Jones, 43, pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Tuesday for trafficking methamphetamine and operating a vehicle containing a secret compartment.

According to the Cherokee County District Attorney's Office:

Jones was arrested in June after a Cherokee Sheriff’s Office deputy conducted a routine traffic stop for a headlight violation. While talking to the deputy, Jones admitted to prior drug use and criminal activity involving drugs. He consented to a search.

Deputies found approximately $1,200 in cash on Jones. While searching the truck, they discovered a square cut out of the truck’s floor that provided access to a hidden compartment attached to the bottom of the vehicle where Jones had hidden a clear bag of 36 grams of methamphetamine, a hypodermic needle, a digital pocket scale, a methamphetamine pipe, and a pill bottle with schedule IV narcotics. Jones admitted to small deal distributions of methamphetamine.

“This defendant has one of the worst drug histories I have personally seen, including three prior trafficking convictions in Florida. For this reason, the state recommended a sentence of 20 years to serve,” said Assistant District Attorney David Holmes, who prosecuted the case.

After Jones entered his negotiated guilty plea, Judge David L. Cannon Jr. sentenced him to 20 years to serve in state prison and a $200,000 fine.

“Mr. Jones had created an elaborate means to conceal illegal narcotics in hopes of eluding detection, but law enforcement officers were able to locate the concealed compartment and make the arrest,” said District Attorney Shannon Wallace. “This sentence ensures that another drug trafficker is off our streets and no longer able to sell narcotics in our county.”

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