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Press Release

Drug Traffickers in Major Cross-Country Conspiracy Sentenced To Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia
Dealers hid cash in candy machines, shipped drugs by mail and hidden in vehicles from California and Atlanta

SAVANNAH, GA: Two Savannah men are facing years in federal prison after being sentenced this week in a cross-country drug-trafficking conspiracy that funneled major amounts of cocaine and marijuana to coastal Georgia.

United States District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. sentenced Edward “Skip” Tyler, 42, to 168 months in federal prison, and Ron Allen, a/k/a “Ron Low,” 41, to 84 months in prison, to be served consecutive to other criminal convictions in state court, said Southern District U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. There is no parole in the federal system, and after their release from prison Tyler and Allen will be on supervised federal release for three years.

Tyler and Allen were part of an illegal drug trafficking organization distributing cocaine and marijuana in Savannah and beyond. 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 to Savannah via U.S. Mail and in vehicles with hidden compartments.

Tyler, who has an extensive record of violence, including drug and gun crimes, served as one of the main cocaine traffickers for the organization. During the investigation, officers observed Tyler conducting a cocaine deal in the parking lot of a Savannah business while carrying a female child. He was on state probation at the time; he pled guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute, and is awaiting sentencing.

Allen, who was on federal court supervision after release from prison on a previous drug trafficking conviction, served as a major marijuana dealer for the organization.  He also supervised the transport of money to conspirators in other states and was in frequent contact with his inmate relative and co-conspirator, Eugene Allen, a/k/a “Poncho,” who is alleged to be a ringleader of this organization. Eugene Allen is serving a life sentence for murder in a Georgia Department of Corrections facility and is alleged to have run his organization using phones smuggled into prison.

In addition to Ron Allen’s 84-month sentence for his guilty plea on the charge of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute, he is facing revocation of his federal supervised release and additional time in prison.

This investigation culminated in the August 2017 indictments by a federal grand jury that charged 20 defendants with drug trafficking offenses. Most of them have pled guilty. In this investigation, agents seized eight firearms, more than 200 pounds of marijuana, multiple kilograms of cocaine, and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“This operation exemplifies the united front of state and federal investigators and prosecutors in combatting major drug trafficking organizations,” said United States Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “The lead prosecutor on this case is Special Assistant United States Attorney Noah Abrams, who also serves as a state prosecutor from the Savannah District Attorney’s Office. Abrams worked in a federal capacity along with another federal prosecutor to dismantle this organization, throwing a wide net that not only took down drug traffickers in Savannah but led to the arrests of suppliers in California and Atlanta.”

“Our office appreciates the opportunity to work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in getting these violent offenders off the streets of Savannah,” said District Attorney Meg Heap. “This case is just one example of how agency partnerships can be successful in using the full weight of the law to reduce crime in our community.”

“These sentences are the result of the hard work and cooperation of multiple federal state and local law enforcement agencies, as part of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “As a result, two drug dealers, who were part of a larger organization that spread illicit drugs on our streets, will spend significant time in prison.”

Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team Director Everett Ragan said, “CNT takes great pride in dismantling drug organizations operating in Chatham County. We equally appreciate our close working partnerships with state and federal counterparts. This operation should serve as a reminder to all drug dealers, large or small, that law enforcement and prosecutors will stand united to ensure our communities are safe.”

This investigation was led by the FBI Southeast Violent Crimes Task Force and the Chatham County Narcotics Team (CNT), with the Savannah Police Department, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, the Effingham 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 October 17, 2018

Drug Trafficking