Five teens arrested in drug bust at Lakeland motel

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UPDATE, July 24, 2018: Charges were dropped against one of the teenagers originally charged and that person's record was expunged. The name has been removed from this article.

Original story: 

LAKELAND, Tenn. — Five teens are facing serious jail time after getting caught up in a drug bust at a Lakeland, Tennessee, motel.

They were arrested Thursday at the Motel 6 on Huff N Puff Road, just across the street from a Super 8 where a teen was rescued from a sex trafficking operation last summer.

Court documents show five teens were using a room at the Motel 6 to deal drugs and party with kids as young as 14.

Hunter Curlin, 19, Joshua Hall, 18, Austin Gilliland, 19, and another person are spending Easter weekend in jail on multiple drug and weapons charges.

Omri Brantley, 19, was released on his own recognizance.

Investigators say the teens were throwing a party when police got an anonymous tip about illegal activity involving drugs in the room.

That’s where police found nearly two dozen kids and teens -- some just 14 years old -- along with weed and the prescription pill Xanax.

Police also found a .22-caliber handgun in Hall’s car, which was reported stolen last week, with the serial number scratched off.

One woman who lives nearby said the motels are an eyesore and should be demolished.

"If they weren’t so busted up and cheap, you wouldn’t attract that type of crowd," said Ebony Boyd. "They need to tear them down."

She said that’s not the kind of thing people in the area expect to hear about in the small town of fewer than 13,000 people.

"You literally can leave your garage open and go to Kroger and come back home and it’s fine," she said. "Nice people, small town.”

One mom, who didn't want her name used, said she had hoped to escape the crime when she moved her family to the city about a year ago.

"It is concerning because we came out to Lakeland to get away from the crime in Memphis," she said.

The room where it all went down, according to arrest records, overlooks a park where several parents were out playing with their kids Saturday.

"It’s concerning to think that my kids are playing here, other people’s kids play here and then that is just right across the street that that’s going on," that mother told WREG.

Last summer, two people were arrested at the Super 8 across the street after a 19-year-old girl told investigators she was being held against her will and forced to perform sex acts.

"It’s horrible, it’s horrible," Boyd said. "And honestly, they really need to tear those places down. I mean, you have $800,000 houses across the street in a gated community and you have Motel 6. It just doesn’t make sense."

Hall faces the most serious charges since the stolen gun was found in his car.

All five teens will be in court Monday morning.

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