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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 14, 2021

Co-Defendants Plead Guilty in Southwest Georgia Drug Trafficking Case

ALBANY, Ga. – Multiple co-defendants involved in a high-volume drug trafficking operation located in a southwest Georgia city have pleaded guilty to their crimes in federal court this week.

On Thursday, May 13, James Malone, 51, of Albany, pleaded guilty to distribution of methamphetamine. Malone faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $10,000,000 fine. Laura Ann Dungee-Ali, 49, of Albany, pleaded guilty to maintaining a drug-involved premises. Dungee-Ali faces a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. William Cook, 46, of Albany, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute hydrocodone. Cook faces a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

On Wednesday, May 12, Patricia Odom, 50, of Albany, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Odom faces a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

On Tuesday, May 11, Sherrod Winchester, 39, of Albany, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute controlled substances. Winchester faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a maximum $10,000,000 fine.

Previously, Shannon Marie Mason, 39, of Leesburg, Georgia, pleaded guilty to distribution of methamphetamine. If convicted, Mason faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $10,000,000 fine. Anthony Dewayne Pearson, 42, of Sylvester, Georgia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute hydrocodone. Pearson faces a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.  

The hearings were presided over by U.S. District Judge Leslie Gardner.

According to court documents, in 2019, Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit (ADDU) detectives identified defendants Malone and Winchester as significant distributors of methamphetamine and heroin. As a result, GBI, DEA and FBI initiated a joint  investigation into the distribution of controlled substances at 520 9th Avenue, Albany, Georgia. The location was an open-air drug market run by Malone and Winchester, dispensing diverted pharmaceutical medications, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and other controlled substances. On a daily basis, the location maintained a large volume of foot and vehicle traffic, approximately twenty cars or more, with the visits lasting no more than a few minutes. Customers would approach a covered shelter to acquire illegal drugs, in a manner similar to a drive-thru window at a fast-food restaurant. Confidential sources were recorded making purchases of these illegal drugs from several of the co-defendants. Co-defendant Mason admitted to transporting large quantities of illegal substances at the behest of Winchester. Mason was taken into custody with more than a kilo of cocaine and more than a kilo of crystal methamphetamine in her vehicle. More than $40,000 in drug proceeds were seized from Malone’s residence.

The case was investigated by the FBI, DEA, GBI and the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah McEwen is prosecuting the case.

Updated May 14, 2021