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

Friday, November 30, 2018

Admitted drug 'mule' will spend more than six years in federal prison

Man was part of organization trafficking cocaine, marijuana across the U.S.

SAVANNAH, GA:  An Atlanta man with an extensive felony record will spend more than six years in federal prison for his role as a “mule” in a cross-country drug-trafficking conspiracy.

United States District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. sentenced Devin Renard Dabney, 40, to 81 months in federal prison after Dabney pled guilty to one count of possession of 500 grams or more of cocaine with intent to distribute, announced Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine.  Dabney also will spend four years on supervised release after his incarceration. There is no parole in the federal system.

One of 20 defendants in an extensive drug trafficking organization, Dabney worked as a drug courier in the network 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.

As part of his plea, Dabney acknowledged that he was one of the main cocaine “mules” of the conspiracy, frequently driving to locations in the Atlanta area to pick up cocaine and then transporting those packages to Savannah before returning to Atlanta with thousands of dollars in cash. During the investigation, agents intercepted him on court-authorized wiretaps and seized more than 1.5 kilograms of cocaine that was attached with magnets and hidden in the rear fender wells of a vehicle he was driving from Atlanta to Savannah.

Dabney was in phone contact with several co-conspirators, including Karteau Jenkins, who is alleged to be the main source of supply of cocaine for the drug trafficking organization. Jenkins is alleged to have coordinated with 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. 

Allegations and charges presume the defendants are innocent unless and until proven guilty.

“Clint Eastwood visited Georgia this year to film ‘The Mule,’ a movie based on a real-life drug courier. And just as the movie’s slogan says, ‘Nobody runs forever,’” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “Drug traffickers deliver destruction to our communities, and our office is determined to flip the script on these merchants of misery and put them behind bars.” 

 A federal grand jury in August 2017 charged 20 defendants with drug trafficking offenses related to this investigation; most of them have pled guilty. During this investigation, agents seized eight firearms, more than 200 pounds of marijuana, multiple kilograms of cocaine, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.

“For a large-scale operation to be successful, it takes many people who all work at different levels,” said Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team Director Everett Ragan. “The same can be said regarding large-scale drug operations. Oftentimes, people are recruited into drug operation roles with a false promise to make easy money with limited liability. This is an excellent example of how that is not true, and hopefully will serve as a reminder that all members of a drug operation will be held accountable."      

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Chatham County Narcotics Unit (CNT), the Savannah Police Department, the Chatham and Effingham County Sheriffs’ Offices, the United States Postal Inspector’s Office and the United States Marshals 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. 


Drug Trafficking
For any questions, please contact Barry Paschal at the United States Attorney’s Office at (912) 652-4422.
Press Release Number: 
Updated November 30, 2018