Toddler severely burned by flash bang in Habersham Co. drug raid

Wanis Thonetheva

A 19-month-old boy is in a medically induced coma after being injured by a flash bang device authorities threw into a Habersham County home during a drug raid.

Early Wednesday, Mountain NCIS Team agents raided a home on Lakeview Heights in Cornelia because of drug activity in the home.

The day before, police said agents sent an informant to the home and successfully purchased methamphetamines from Wanis Thonetheva.

The informant told agents that there were a couple of men at the home standing "guard" outside the door leading to the finished garage area and the front door of the residence.

The informant said that it was not sure whether these "guards" posted in the front of the residence were armed with weapons.

According to all information able to be gathered at the time, agents said there were no children or dogs at the residence.

In the past, agents knew there were assault-type weapons at the home and Thonetheva has a criminal history which reflected charges of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and several charges of carrying a concealed weapon.

Agents contacted the Habersham County Sheriff's Office SRT Unit to assist with the execution of the search warrant.

During the execution of the search warrant, a distraction device was used to provide additional safety measures for SWAT making entry into the residence.

Unknown to law enforcement, there were several children located inside the residence and the occupants had placed the crib of one of the children against the door.

Authorities said because the child's crib was blocking the doorway on the inside of the home and that there were no lights in the room at the time of entry, SRT officers could not see the child.

The child was taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.

According to the child's mother, they were staying at the residence temporarily and that she was aware that her nephew, Thonetheva, and his brother were dealing drugs out of the house.

Thonetheva was charged with distribution of methamphetamines and was given a bond of $15,000.

Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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