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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 15, 2016

James Maxwell a/k/a "Sonny Spoon" Pleads Guilty To Narcotics Charges

G.F. “Pete” Peterman, III, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announces that James Maxwell a/k/a “Sonny Spoon”, age 43, of Macon, Georgia, entered a plea of guilty on December 15, 2016 to counts one and two of a Superseding Information charging him with possession with intent to distribute marijuana before the Honorable Marc. T. Treadwell, U.S. District Court Judge, in Macon, Georgia.

As a part of his plea agreement, Mr. Maxwell admitted that between January 13, 2014, and October 31, 2014, Ira Christopher Jackson and James Maxwell, a/k/a "Sonny Spoon" operated a multi-state distribution network in which kilograms of marijuana were purchased from sources of supply in Texas and California. Once purchased, the marijuana was mailed via the United States Postal Service to co­conspirators working in Macon, Georgia and other locations. Individuals working for Jackson and Maxwell accepted the packages and held them until they were sold to drug dealers in Macon and other locations in the district.

Also during the investigation, proceeds from the drug sales were seized directly from Mr. Maxwell in October 2014 in Taylor County, Georgia. Agents learned that Mr. Maxwell was going to Texas to meet with Mr. Jackson with a large amount of cash to pay for marijuana. Law enforcement officers in Butler, Georgia stopped the limousine hired by Mr. Maxwell to drive him to Texas. During a search of the limousine, officers seized $184,980.00 in cash from him.

On October 17, 2014, Mr. Maxwell was provided with approximately nineteen (19) pounds of marijuana. The drugs were taken to Mr. Maxwell's studio located at 4546 Columbus Road in Macon where he later distributed the drugs to others who came to the studio to obtain the drugs.

On October 31, 2014, agents executed a search at a co-conspirator’s residence in Macon, Georgia. Mr. Maxwell's van was parked next to the house and a subsequent of the van uncovered additional nineteen (19) pounds of marijuana.

Sentencing for Mr. Maxwell was set for April 12, 2017 at 9:00 am in Macon.  He faces a maximum sentence of five (5) years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, or both, on each count.

“This is not the first time Mr. Maxwell has been in federal court on drug violations,” said United States Attorney Peterman. “In 2007 Mr. Maxwell, a/k/a “Sonny Spoon” of “Dirty Bird” fame, was sentenced for drug and gun violations.  Upon his release from prison he professed to the public to be a man who had learned his lesson and put his past behind him, speaking frequently to youth groups and civic organizations. It is very disappointing that a man of his talent, given the opportunity to atone and start over that he was, returned to a life of crime.”              

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorneys Charles L. Calhoun, Elizabeth Howard and Tamara A. Jarrett are prosecuting the case for the Government. 

Questions concerning this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated December 16, 2016