ROME, GA. - Roderick McCullough, 39, of Cedartown, Georgia, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Harold L. Murphy to federal prison on charges of operating a drug distribution ring in northwest Georgia. McCullough is the final defendant sentenced out of seven individuals convicted in the scheme.
“We removed a menacing methamphetamine distribution network from the streets. These criminals can no longer distribute toxic doses of poison to the community,” said Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Atlanta Field Division. “This investigation was a success because of the great working relationship that DEA has with its federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts.”
“Make no mistake. Meth is a major threat in the rural counties of northwest Georgia, where local drug dealers are supplied with highly potent crystal methamphetamine via a virtual pipeline from Mexico. Then those local dealers find a steady stream of loyal and addicted customers,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “In the process, families, jobs, and communities are destroyed. This organization has dominated the methamphetamine distribution market in rural Polk County and Floyd County for some time, and now it is destroyed. Hopefully, the Seney Community will heal quickly and recover from the damage, while this group of local criminals remains in federal prison.”
McCullough was sentenced to 21 years, ten months in federal prison, to be followed by ten years of supervised release. McCullough pleaded guilty to the charges on July 26, 2010.
Also sentenced in this case are the following individuals:
Demarko Ware, 33, of Cedartown, Georgia, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison;
Timothy Washington, 33, of Aragon, Georgia, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison;
Kevin Kent, 29, of Aragon, Georgia, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison;
Tommy Morgan, 24, of Silver Creek, Georgia, was sentenced to ten years in federal prison;
Juan Maldonado, 34, of Mexico, but residing in Polk County, Georgia, was sentenced to four years and nine months in federal prison;
Ray Washington, 53, of Seney, Georgia, was sentenced to five years and ten months in federal prison.
All defendants were sentenced by United States District Judge Harold L. Murphy on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and related charges, with the exception of Ray Washington, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced on charges of maintaining a property for the purpose of drug distribution.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court the seven convicted defendants engaged in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine from at least March 10, 2008, through at least January 8, 2010. In addition, they engaged in specific acts of distribution of methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, as well as firearms offenses, and maintaining a property for the purpose of drug dealing during this same time frame. McCullough, known as “Big Rick,” operated the meth distribution ring in the rural Seney area near Aragon, in Polk County, Georgia, along with co-defendants Demarko Ware, Kevin Kent, Timothy Washington, and Tommy Morgan, as well as with occasional supplier Maldonado. The group sold the drugs primarily from Washington-- Js residential lot on Jones Washington Road, a rural back road in the Seney community between Rome and Rockmart, Georgia.
For approximately two years, the operation was investigated and monitored by a combination of federal agents with the DEA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Task Force officers with the Polk County Police Department, the Cedartown Police Department, and the Rome-Floyd Metro Drug Task Force. The investigation revealed that, the McCullough organization was responsible for moving multiple kilograms of methamphetamine through the area and reaping nearly $1 million from their activities.
This case was investigated by a joint Task Force of agents and officers of DEA, FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Polk County Police Department, the Cedartown, Ga., Police Department, and the Rome-Floyd Metro Drug Task Force, as well as deputies with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, all operating under the umbrella of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Assistant United States Attorneys Todd C. Alley and Jill Steinberg prosecuted the case.
DEA Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Benson encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.