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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Additional Candy-Machine Drug Trafficker Sentenced In Multi-State Cocaine, Marijuana Distribution Conspiracy

Plea sends previously convicted felon to federal prison for more than 11 years

SAVANNAH, GA: A Savannah man will spend more than 11 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in a cross-country drug-trafficking conspiracy that distributed cocaine and marijuana throughout coastal Georgia.

United States District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. sentenced Aaron Craig Hubbard, a/k/a “Yup,” a/k/a “Yap,” 30, to 136 months in federal prison after Hubbard pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, and to being a felon in possession of a firearm. The sentence will be served consecutive to his sentence for violating state parole. There is no parole in the federal system. Upon release from federal prison, Hubbard will be on federal supervised release for four years.

Hubbard was part of a coast-to-coast drug trafficking organization that spanned from California to Savannah. As outlined in court records and in various hearings, marijuana sales were used to finance cocaine purchases, with cash proceeds hidden in candy machines and shipped to hubs in Atlanta and California. Co-conspirators in those areas shipped pounds of marijuana and kilograms of cocaine to Savannah via U.S. Mail and in vehicles with hidden compartments.

While on state parole, Hubbard served as a major cocaine dealer in Savannah for the drug trafficking organization. During the investigation, agents intercepted him on court-authorized wiretaps and seized nearly $100,000 in cash, multiple firearms, pounds of marijuana and other drug trafficking tools from Hubbard’s stash houses.

Hubbard was in frequent phone contact with co-conspirator Eugene “Poncho” Allen, who is alleged to be a ringleader of the drug trafficking organization despite currently serving a life sentence for murder in a Georgia state prison. Allen is alleged to have run his organization using smuggled contraband phones. 

A federal grand jury in August 2017 charged 20 defendants with drug trafficking offenses and most of them have pled guilty. During this investigation, agents seized eight firearms, more than 50 pounds of marijuana, multiple kilograms of cocaine, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.

“This operation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force is an excellent example of the success the good guys achieve when we work together as a united team,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “The coordinated actions of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors will continue to make our neighborhoods safer by hunting down violent drug dealers and sending them to prison.”

“Hubbard continued to distribute drugs on the streets of Savannah while on state parole, showing an intentional disregard for the law,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Thanks to the hard work and cooperation of multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies as part of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, he will serve his entire federal sentence because there is no opportunity for parole in the federal system.”

“Those breaking the law don’t care about jurisdictional lines, and law enforcement agencies shouldn’t either,” said Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap. “Our community benefits the most when all law-enforcement agencies work in tandem. This task force is the perfect example of why that is important. I want to thank all of the partners for their hard work in getting these criminals off our streets.”

Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT) Director Everett Ragan said, “This operation is a prime example of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies collaborating to dismantle a drug distribution ring operating in Chatham County and throughout the United States. CNT prides itself on our close working partnerships, and takes even more pride in putting drug dealers away for a long time.”

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Chatham County Narcotics Unit (CNT), the Savannah Police Department, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Postal Inspector’s Office and the United States Marshal’s Service. This case is being prosecuted as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program, which is the premier law enforcement unit whose task is to dismantle multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations. This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney/ Assistant District Attorney Noah Abrams, and Assistant United States Attorneys Greg Gilluly and Frank Pennington. 

For any questions, please contact Barry Paschal at the United States Attorney’s Office at (912) 652-4422.

Updated November 6, 2018