Leader, final defendant in Augusta-area drug trafficking conspiracy sentenced to nearly 13 years in federal prison
STATESBORO, GA: Eighteen defendants from the Laurens and Toombs County, Ga., area are in custody awaiting further legal proceedings after their initial court appearances from a 55-count drug trafficking indictment in U.S. District Court.
Each of the 18 defendants is charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin, with others additionally charged with possession and distribution of drugs and illegal firearms use and possession, along with multiple charges related to the use of cell phones inside and outside Georgia prison facilities to advance the conspiracy, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
“This case once again demonstrates that small communities are not immune from the disastrous consequences of drug trafficking,” said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. “The continued vigilance of our law enforcement partners helps ensure illegal drug distribution operations are identified and disrupted.”
The case, investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, began in response to significant drug trafficking activity in Toombs and Laurens counties. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, along with local law enforcement agencies, coordinated with the Drug Enforcement Administration to infiltrate the network and obtain evidence to prosecute the defendants named in the indictment.
Those named in the indictment include:
In addition to drug charges, several of the defendants are charged with illegal gun possession. The indictment includes notice of forfeiture of 16 firearms seized during the investigation.
Indictments contain only charges. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF). OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.
The case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, the Toombs County Sheriff’s Office, and the Vidalia Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. Harper III.
Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422