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Press Release

Nine Defendants In Vast Cocaine Conspiracy Sentenced

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia

G.F. “Pete” Peterman, III, Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that nine defendants in a far-reaching conspiracy to distribute cocaine were sentenced as of Wednesday, February 25, 2016, by the Honorable Hugh Lawson, Senior United States District Judge.  These individuals and their respective sentences include:

Andrew Carter, age 38 of Omega, Georgia- 360 months

Juan Pablo Cuevas, age 54 of Atlanta, Georgia - 240 months

Maurice Todd Carter, age 35 of Omega, Georgia- 240 months

Jose Alfredo Martinez, age 40 of Omega, Georgia- 200 months

Kenyatta Mitchell, age 33 of Tifton, Georgia- 150 months

Lataris Waters, age 26 of Omega, Georgia- 60 months

Jessica Tellez, age 32 of Omega, Georgia- 66 months

James Waters, age 52 of Tifton, Georgia- 60 months, and

Juan Sanchez Hidalgo, 57 of Tifton, Georgia- 42 months.

From January 1, 2013, through October 28, 2014, the defendants acquired kilogram quantities of cocaine ultimately distributed throughout Cook, Colquitt and Tift County, Georgia. Between August 29, 2014, and September 28, 2014, intercepted communications revealed Defendants acquired between 10 to 15 kilograms of cocaine per week. On September 25, 2014, a traffic stop of Jose Martinez, Jessica Tellez, and Juan Sanchez Hidalgo resulted in the seizure of $225,937 of drug money en route to Juan Pablo Cuevas. Search warrants executed that same date on residences of Maurice Todd Carter, James Waters, and other defendants resulted in the seizure of an additional approximately $50,000, 3 kilograms of cocaine and 11 firearms.

“The teamwork of local, state and federal law enforcement, working together, shut down this major drug running business in South Georgia.  There is no parole in the federal prison system.  With these sentences, our community, our citizens and our children will be safe from the criminal activities of these individuals for up to thirty years in the case of the ring leader.  This is outstanding work by our law enforcement officers and prosecutors,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney G.F. Peterman, III.

Daniel R. Salter, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division stated, “Today is a victory, not only for the multitude of law enforcement agencies who dismantled this organization, but for the citizens of the affected communities. Now that these criminals have been removed from the streets, our communities are much safer. This effort would not have been successful without the high-level of cooperation between our federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts.”

“This investigation is an example of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working together to make a positive impact in the local communities of southwest Georgia.  The blending of these resources has resulted in the successful dismantling and prosecution of a major drug trafficking organization,” commented Special Agent in Charge Kim Baker of the GBI Region 15 Field Office.

“This is the result of a unified effort to combat illegal drugs in Tift County. I want to thank all agencies and their personnel for their dedicated service to our community,” said Sheriff Gene Scarbrough of the Tifton County Sheriff’s Office.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Mid-South Narcotics Task Force, and the Tift, Crisp, Cook, and Colquitt County Sheriff’s Offices.  Assistant United States Attorney Julia Bowen is handling the prosecution for the Government.

Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey at the United States Attorney’s Office at 478-752-3511.

Updated February 26, 2016

Drug Trafficking