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Press Release

Chatham County man sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for fentanyl and heroin trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia
Defendant currently serving life sentence for murder in state prison

SAVANNAH, GA:  A Chatham County man convicted of murder after his indictment on federal drug trafficking charges has been sentenced to federal prison for fentanyl and heroin trafficking.

Dyanta Samuels, 25, of Savannah, was sentenced to 149 months in federal prison after previously pleading guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl and Heroin, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker ordered the sentence to run consecutively with the life sentence Samuels is serving in state prison, and for Samuels to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his federal prison term.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“This investigation took an illegal drug merchant off the streets along with numerous firearms that are dangerous tools of the violent drug trade,” said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. “We commend our law enforcement partners for outstanding work in bringing Samuels and his co-defendants to justice.”

As described in court documents and testimony, the Savannah Police Department and a U.S. Marshals Task Force were conducting surveillance at a Savannah apartment complex in April 2021 regarding a suspect in a homicide when they observed activity consistent with drug trafficking. Four individuals left the apartment complex in three vehicles, and subsequent traffic stops and searches of those vehicles yielded large amounts of marijuana and fentanyl, along with cash, multiple firearms, and ammunition.

In a search of the apartment, investigators found drug trafficking paraphernalia, quantities of heroin and fentanyl, multiple firearms, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Samuels’ plea agreement includes the forfeiture of eight firearms, including semi-automatic pistols and assault-style rifles, along with ammunition and multiple high-capacity magazines.

Samuels and three co-defendants were indicted in May 2022 by a U.S. District Court grand jury. While under indictment, Samuels was convicted in state court for the 2020 shooting death of Kareem Samuels in Savannah, and is serving a life sentence in Jenkins Correctional Facility.

One co-defendant, Shantanese Anderson, 28, of Savannah, is serving a 37-month sentence after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana. Two other defendants facing similar charges – Samuels’ girlfriend, Kya Key, 23, of Savannah, and Ismail Maxwell, 26, of Savannah – await sentencing after pleading guilty to similar charges.

“Our partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office is key to the Savannah Police Department’s ability to prevent those who choose to bring violence and drugs to our neighborhoods from being able to do so,” said Savannah Police Chief Lenny Gunther. “This is yet another example of how much we can accomplish through collaboration.”

 The case was investigated by the Savannah Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bradley R. Thompson and Frank M. Pennington II.


Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422

Updated September 6, 2023

Violent Crime
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 48-23