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2 charged, 1 on the run after agents find drugs, cash and exotic animals at home

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Two people were arrested and a third is on the run after a drug bust in Cherokee County in which officers found exotic animals including a tegu, a large lizard that is banned in the United States.

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The arrests came after agents were able to track a shipment of 10 pounds of marijuana to a home on Creekbend Drive near Woodstock where they discovered an additional three pounds of marijuana, several firearms and $5,796 in cash, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

The drugs were believed to have originated in California and were shipped across the country, spokesman Lt. Jay Baker said. The marijuana, the hashish and the pills were package for redistribution, he said.

Marlena Shae Darby, 19, and Kurt Steven Wisehart, 25, both of Woodstock, remained in jail Monday after their arrest last week, Baker said.

Darby, who has no bond, was charged with trafficking marijuana, possession of Xanax and possession of hashish, he said. Wisehart, whose bond was set at $22,400, was charged with possession of cocaine and possession of hashish, Baker said.

The third suspect, Matt Quinn, was charged with trafficking marijuana, possession of xanax, possession of hashish and possession of psilocybin mushrooms, Baker said. Deputies were still searching for him late Monday night.

The three may also face charges for the variety of exotic animals found in the home, officials said. Agents called on the Cherokee Marshal’s Office and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to assist when they found the animals, including a tegu.

"Tegus are banned in the United States for their aggressive nature and their damage to the ecosystem," Baker said in a news release. "Tegus are an invasive species which reproduces quickly and eats a wide variety of food items, including small animals and eggs of many wildlife species."

The black and white tegu is native to South America. They have banding along the tail, and can reach up to four feet in length.

The Cherokee Marshal’s Office and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will be working with federal authorities to deal with the exotic animals found in the home, Baker said.

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