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Justice News

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sandersville Drug Dealer Convicted

On April 8, 2015, a jury in U.S. District Court in Macon, Georgia convicted Antonio Donyal Tarver, age 39, from Sandersville, Georgia, of one count possession with intent to distribute more than 28 grams of cocaine base (“crack”) and one count possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

The Government’s evidence at trial proved that on July 3, 2013, a Georgia State Patrol Trooper attempted to stop Mr. Tarver on Highway 24 in Eatonton, Georgia for speeding.  Instead of pulling over, Mr. Tarver led the Trooper on a chase.  Mr. Tarver eventually ran a red light and gained some distance on the Trooper.  Mr. Tarver then made an abrupt turn into the industrial area of Horton Components where he turned behind a van trailer and abandoned his vehicle.  When the Trooper turned the corner by the van trailer, he saw Mr. Tarver’s abandoned vehicle continue forward and crash into a pole.  The Trooper was able to locate Mr. Tarver following a foot chase.

A few hours later, an employee at Horton Components contacted the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office about a shopping bag he observed on the roof of the van trailer where Mr. Tarver had abandoned his vehicle.  The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office arrived and retrieved the bag, finding what was later confirmed to be 143.33 grams of cocaine base (“crack”) and 292.98 grams of cocaine.  The bags that the cocaine was packaged in were processed by the GBI for latent prints and a GBI latent print examiner confirmed that Mr. Tarver’s left ring finger and right thumb print were present on two of the bags.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.  At sentencing, Mr. Tarver faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years up to a possibility of life imprisonment.

“Not only did Mr. Tarver put the Trooper and the public in danger when he fled from the law, he jeopardized the well-being of the people of Middle Georgia by possessing cocaine with the intention to distribute it.  His drug activities have now landed him in prison.  I want to especially thank the GBI for its work on the fingerprint analysis in this case.  Some people mistakenly think that fingerprints can’t be recovered from a plastic bag.  They obviously don’t know the quality of the investigative work done by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Moore.

This case was investigated by the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, and the Eatonton Police Department.  The case was prosecuted but Assistant United States Attorneys Beth Howard and Charles Calhoun.

Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, United States Attorney’s Office at 478-621-2603.

Updated April 9, 2015