Hollie Elizabeth Spotts arrested last year for allegedly trafficking 15 pounds of drugs

Judge halves bond amount for accused meth trafficker

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The amount of methamphetamine defendant Hollie Elizabeth Spotts is accused of trafficking through the county last year isn't just substantial. It's among the largest recoveries by the Georgia State Patrol that Cherokee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Erle J. Newton ever heard of. 

"They found seven small boxes behind the driver's seat of that car," Newton said Tuesday in Bartow Superior Court. "Each of the boxes contained about 1,000 grams of methamphetamine."

The total amount of suspected methamphetamine found in Spotts' vehicle by GSP officers on Nov. 16, Newton said, was about seven kilograms — more than 15 pounds of the drug. He also said that officers recovered "two suspected MDMA, or ecstasy, pills" from the automobile stopped in Bartow County, along with $893 in cash. 

In addition to the trafficking charge, Spotts is also facing one felony charge of possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor charge of failure to maintain lane, according to superior court documents.

While bond was initially set at $200,000, Georgia Superior Court Senior Judge Shepherd L. Howell ordered the amount to be lowered to $100,000.

Several members of Spotts' family traveled from Proctorville, Ohio, for the hearing. She has been held in pre-trial detention at the Bartow County Jail for nearly two months. 

Defense attorney E. Jay Abt argued that $200,000 was an "extraordinary" amount that his client's family could not pay. He asked Judge Howell to reduce the bond to somewhere in the $50,000-$75,000 range.

Newton argued for $200,000 to remain the minimum bond amount. "And I would ask for special conditions, such as house arrest and ankle monitor," he added. 

That Spotts would be living approximately 450 miles away from Bartow while awaiting a court date was a point of contention. 

"Spotts, being a resident of Proctorville, Ohio, that is a major concern for the State," Newton said. "Just the sheer amount of methamphetamine found in this car, it's really quite astounding."

Abt, however, said technology would ensure Spotts' physical distance from the Cherokee Judicial Circuit wouldn't be an issue. In fact, he said he's had many cases in which defendants who lived out-of-state have been ordered to house arrest and/or wear ankle monitors, including a current client who resides in Miami.

"It is not difficult for the D.A.'s office to monitor her from Proctorville," he said. "We simply arrange with a local ankle monitor company and then the ankle monitor company gives digital access to the D.A.'s office, so they can go online, log in on the internet and monitor her 24/7."

While Howell ordered Spotts to be fitted with an ankle monitor device within 72 hours of her release, he did not require her to undergo house arrest as a bond condition. 

"If she wants to go out and do the good things that Mr. Abt said she's done before, then I don't want to stop that," he said — a reference to the defendant's work as an AmeriCorps mentor in West Virginia, among other volunteer activities cited by Abt earlier in the hearing.

In order to move the case forward faster, Newton said he has requested that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab expedite the analysis of the substances found in Spotts' vehicle. "I expect those results back no later than Feb. 11, 2019, per their policy," he said.