PHENIX CITY, AL - Law enforcement officials from Russell County and Phenix City say a drug operation has been ongoing at Next in Line Barber Shop off 4th Avenue in Phenix City.
"There were narcotics found in the barber shop at the time of the search warrant. There was about 17 grams total of cocaine," said Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor.
Taylor says investigators from the Partners Against Illegal Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at the barber shop on Friday.
Fourteen men who were inside were arrested including the owner, 33-year-old William Gosha, who was charged with possession of cocaine with intent.
Many of the people arrested were charged with loitering while some were charged with possession of drugs or arrested on previous warrants.
"There were actually community citizens that came out and came up to the agents and were thanking them for being able to take care of this problem," said Taylor.
It all came from an investigation that began in January. Investigators say they were able to make six drug buys in the barber shop.
"We want to make sure the community knows that we are well aware of what is going on. We just have to make sure that we are following the rules. We are protecting the rights of the offenders as well as our community. [We want] to make sure that we are doing it right," said Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith.
We were able to talk one of the men who was arrested. He says he does not understand why he was arrested and it was a legitimate barbershop. Taylor says evidence shows there was a drug operation.
"When you make six different buys and then you find things that we found within the confines of the walls of that business. I think it makes our case that this was a distribution center for both marijuana and cocaine," said Taylor.
When we drove by on Tuesday, the business was not open. We did contact the owner of Next in Line Barber Shop. He said he would talk with his lawyer about doing an interview, but so far, our phone calls have not been returned.