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Gwinnett teen arrested in Cherokee death

LAWRENCEVILLE - A 15-year-old Gwinnett County teen was arrested Friday in connection with a shooting death in Cherokee County.

The boy was charged as an adult with conspiracy to commit murder, said Cpl. Nicole Ebbeskotte, spokeswoman for the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. He is being held at a juvenile facility in the Atlanta area.

The teen's name was not released out of consideration for his family, she said.

"We are trying to protect the family and make sure they remain safe," Ebbeskotte said.

Ebbeskotte said Department of Transportation workers performing road repairs on Ga. Highway 372 near the Etowah River Bridge in Cherokee County discovered the body of 21-year-old Gwinnett resident Jesus Araujo Lopez about 1:30 p.m. Dec. 12.

An autopsy showed Lopez died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

Additional arrests are expected, Ebbeskotte said, and police believe the shooting was drug related. Because the case is still an active investigation, Ebbeskotte said she could not elaborate on the juvenile's connection to Lopez or provide any more information about the case.