Fourteen Defendants Indicted in Cocaine Conspiracy
JUL 02 -- SAVANNAH, GA - Edmund A. Booth, Jr., United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, announced that fourteen defendants have been named in an indictment returned by a Grand Jury sitting in Savannah in connection with a major cocaine distribution conspiracy. In the indictment, which was unsealed today, the fourteen defendants, most of whom reside in Bulloch County, were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack), as well as cocaine hydrochloride (powder). The indictment charges Corey WEST and Maurice FIELDS as the leaders of the drug trafficking organization. Both of those defendants were also charged with federal firearms offenses. Also named in the indictment as co-conspirators are: Juanice GAINES, Wayne HAMILTON, Enrico JACKSON, Mandrell PARKER, Chris MALOY, Sean ROBERSON, Jonathan FIELDS, Chris EASON, Sheena McCRAE, Craig Dontell HUMPHRIES, Joseph BANNER, and Welton B. McCOLLOUGH.
Booth noted that the case resulted from a lengthy investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Statesboro Police Department, the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office & the Drug Suppression Team, the Ogeechee Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Georgia. Booth praised the efforts of all the agencies involved and called the investigation “a great success and an excellent example of federal-state law enforcement collaboration.” Bench warrants have been issued for all of the defendants and eleven have been arrested. Initial appearances were held today in U.S. District Court in Statesboro and ten defendants were detained.
If convicted of the charges, the defendants face statutory penalties of up to life imprisonment without parole and millions of dollars in fines. Booth stressed that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The lead prosecutor representing the United States is Assistant U.S. Attorney Darrin L. McCullough in Savannah.
DEA Atlanta Field Division SAC Benson recommends parents and children educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com and www.dea.gov