Lowndes Co. man arrested on homicide, drug charges in Echols Co.

Cessor Mario Houston, Jr.
Cessor Mario Houston, Jr.(Echols County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 4:35 PM EDT
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STATENVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - A Lowndes County man was indicted by an Echols County Grand Jury on Monday, according to a release from the Echols County Sheriff’s Office.

Cessor Mario Houston, Jr., 45, of Naylor, was indicted on murder and several drug charges following an investigation into the October 2021 death of Steven Johnson, an Echols County resident.

Johnson was found dead in his yard the morning of Oct. 23, 2021. The sheriff’s office said the case was investigated as a suspected overdose.

The GBI was requested to assist in the investigation. After an autopsy and toxicology testing results provided information that led investigators to meet with the district attorney for the presentment of the case to the grand jury, the release said.

The release said Johnson allegedly bought drugs from Houston before he died.

On Oct. 23, 2021, Georgia State Patrol and the Echols County Sheriff’s Office conducted a roadblock at the intersection of Bethel Church Road and J Frank Culpepper Road. A small silver car approached the roadblock, and a trooper detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, according to the release.

The trooper asked Houston and a passenger to step out of the vehicle. A search of the vehicle was conducted and a backpack full of illegal narcotics including a trafficking amount of fentanyl, methamphetamine, morphine, prescription pills and marijuana was found, the release said.

Echols Co. drug possession
Echols Co. drug possession(Echols County Sheriff's Office)

On Monday, Houston was arrested at a residence on Edgar Road in Echols County. At the time of his arrest, deputies found Houston with individual baggies of cocaine and methamphetamine packaged to sell.

He was taken to the Lowndes County Jail where is being held on the murder charges, as well as additional charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of TCH oil and possession of drug-related objects.

Echols Co. drug possession
Echols Co. drug possession(Echols Sheriff's Office)

“This grand jury indictment sends a strong message to those who want to sell illegal narcotics in Echols County that this will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Sheriff Randy Courson.

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