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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

7 Dublin Residents Charged With Federal Firearms, Drug Distribution and Related Offenses

FBI and Dublin Police Department Operation Focused on Drugs and Violence in Dublin, Georgia

DUBLIN, GA: Federal indictments were unsealed today against 7 Dublin residents charged with federal firearms, drug distribution, and related offenses.  The charges are the result of joint federal, state, and local efforts to reduce violent crime and drug activities in the Dublin area. 

Increases in violence and drug activity in Dublin has become of serious concern to law enforcement and local residents alike.

To address the apparent increase in violent crime and drug activities, the Dublin Police Department (DPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), began a joint investigation to identify and arrest the criminals operating in and around Dublin. Law enforcement used a number of investigative techniques to identify the targets, including undercover purchases of drugs and firearms and extensive surveillance. 

In early June 2018, the federal grand jury for the Southern District of Georgia indicted 7 defendants identified as a result of this investigation.  Those indictments initially were returned under seal. 

On June 27, 2018, local, state, and federal law enforcement officers executed arrests warrants.  Today, the indictments and federal warrants were unsealed, and all of the charged defendants made their initial appearance in federal court.

The federal charges and maximum penalties include:

  • Felon in Possession of Firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), which typically carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.  However, if a defendant has three prior convictions for violent crimes or serious drug offenses, then the minimum sentence is 15 years’ imprisonment and the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.  
  • Distribution of Controlled Substances, and Possession of Controlled Substances with Intent to Distribute, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), which typically carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, but may carry increased minimum and maximum terms of imprisonment based on the quantity of controlled substances involved and the prior drug convictions of the defendant. 
  • Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation To a Crime of Violence or Drug Trafficking Crime, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), which carries a potential sentence of not less than 5 years’ imprisonment, and up to life imprisonment, consecutive to any other sentence imposed.

        

During the investigation, law enforcement investigators seized firearms and ammunition.  Some of the firearms seized during this investigation had previously been stolen. Additionally, investigators seized quantities of numerous controlled substances, including cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. 

The Dublin residents charged with federal crimes include:

          Lamar Cook, age 34,

          Trevolis Coney, age 29,

          Shanetra Coney, age 26,

          Alexander Johnson, age 31,

          Aldrickus T. Cuyler, age 23,

          Michael D. Stephens, age 40,

          Octavia M. Stephens, age 42.

At least one of the defendants was in possession of gang related literature when arrested on the charges that are alleged in the pending federal indictment. 

United States Attorney Bobby L. Christine said, “In concert with the FBI, state and local law enforcement partners including the Dublin Police Department and District Attorney Craig Fraser of the Dublin Judicial Circuit, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia has today struck a blow at the heart of violent street level criminal activity on behalf of the law abiding citizens of the greater Dublin community. This will not be the last action taken on this front as we together make this district safer!” 

“We believe these arrests will have an immediate impact on the safety of the law abiding citizens of the Dublin community,” said J.C. Hacker, Acting Special Agent in Charge (A/SAC) of FBI Atlanta. “Let this also be a warning to anyone else who believes they are above the law that the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Dublin Police Department will continue working together to bring violent offenders to justice, and hold them accountable to stiff federal laws.”

DPD Chief Tim Chatman, said, “This is only the beginning. We will continue to collaborate with the FBI and federal prosecutors to rid our streets of this kind of behavior, gangs, drugs, etc. We thank the FBI and federal prosecutors for assisting us in this matter. We owe it to our citizens to look for better ways to make our streets safer.”

United States Attorney Christine emphasized that an indictment or criminal complaint is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions previously announced a recommitment of the United States Department of Justice to Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program dedicated to bringing together federal, state, and local law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone.  The United States Attorney’s Office incorporated key components of the PSN strategy into the Dublin operation, including strong federal involvement, the cultivation of partnerships with local law enforcement and community stakeholders, targeted enforcement in those areas most affected by violent crime, and outreach efforts designed to prevent violent crime before it occurs.  

Today's indictments arose out of a joint investigation led by the FBI and the Dublin Police Department, with assistance from the Laurens County Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney's Office for the Dublin Judicial Circuit, and the Georgia Department of Corrections K-9 Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Patricia G. Rhodes, Henry W. Syms, and Tara M. Lyons are prosecuting these cases for the United States.

For any questions, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (912) 652-4422.

Updated June 28, 2018