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New Georgia House member arrested on drug and theft charges

December 16, 2022 GMT

WINDER, Ga. (AP) — An incoming Georgia state representative has been arrested after investigators said he stole prescription narcotics at the retirement complex he manages.

Danny Rampey, 67, of Statham, was arrested Thursday, jail records show. He was charged with six counts of obtaining drugs by misrepresentation or theft, six counts of exploiting an elder or disabled adult, five counts of burglary and one count of drug possession.

Rampey was released from jail Friday after posting bail, jail records show. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

Rampey, a Republican, faced no general election opposition in his November victory in House District 119, which includes most of Barrow County. Rep. Terry England, the current officeholder, is retiring. Rampey easily won an earlier GOP primary.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports Rampey was arrested at Magnolia Estates of Winder, an assisted living complex that Rampey has managed for 38 years, according to his campaign website. He and his family own a chain of personal care homes in northeast Georgia.

Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith said Rampey is believed to have burglarized a house that is part of the complex. Officials said the investigation began about two weeks ago after missing prescription narcotics were reported. Deputies said they arrested Rampey as he was leaving an unoccupied unit on Thursday.

“We had a couple of instances of him on video taking the items and today we had one as well. We actually filmed him going into the residence and taking the items,” Smith told the newspaper.

Smith said investigators searched the business and Rampey’s home Thursday looking for more evidence.

Rampey is scheduled to be sworn in on Jan. 9. If he chose to withdraw before then, Gov. Brian Kemp would call a special Republican primary to replace him, because Rampey had no general election opposition. If Rampey is sworn in and then indicted, Kemp could suspend him from office until charges are resolved. If Rampey resigns after being sworn in — or never is sworn in and takes no action — Kemp would schedule a special election that includes anyone who wanted to run, not just Republicans.