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Press Release

Father and two sons among six more defendants sentenced to prison in Operation Vanilla Gorilla

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia
Gang-associated methamphetamine traffickers earn federal sentences

SAVANNAH, GA:  Another round of sentencings in the Operation Vanilla Gorilla drug trafficking investigation is sending more defendants to substantial terms in federal prison.

Cody Penfield, 28, of Savannah, Ga., was sentenced Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, in U.S. District Court in Savannah by Judge R. Stan Baker to 162 months in prison for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

According to court filings and evidence presented in Court, Cody Penfield conspired with his brother, Nick Penfield, and his father, Michael Penfield, and others as part of a major drug trafficking organization that included associates of the Ghost Face Gangsters criminal street gang to distribute kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in the Southern District of Georgia and beyond. Nick Penfield is serving a sentence of 210 months in federal prison, and Mike Penfield is serving 175 months in federal prison. There is no parole in the federal system.

“A father and his two sons have now each been sentenced to more than a decade in prison for distributing poison throughout Georgia and the Southern District,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “Instead of responsibly guiding his children, Mike Penfield teamed up with his adult sons to earn dishonest profit from criminal drug trafficking. They’ve now earned stiff prison sentences as payment for their crimes.”

All 43 defendants indicted in November and December 2018 in the conspiracy have pled guilty, and most have been sentenced to prison. Members of the drug-trafficking organization also recently sentenced include:

  • Baby Dwayne Garrison, 55, of Bloomingdale, Ga., sentenced to 145 months in prison for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • Mike Penfield, 54, Savannah, sentenced to 175 months in prison for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • Marcus Logan Greco, 29, of Rincon, Ga., sentenced to 170 months of imprisonment for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin, and to a consecutive 120 months in prison for Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person;
  • Robert Fuller, 40, of Richmond Hill, Ga., sentenced to 100 months of imprisonment for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine; and,
  • David Rahn, 41, of Savannah, sentenced to 151 months in prison for Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute.

Most of these defendants were on probation or parole when they committed the offenses, so the federal sentences will be run consecutive to the sentences for violating state probation or parole.  After serving their federal sentences, each of the defendants will then be on federal supervision for at least three years.

Operation Vanilla Gorilla was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), the premier U.S. Department of Justice program to dismantle multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations.  The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT), the Georgia Department of Corrections Intelligence Division, the Savannah Police Department, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond Hill Police Department, the Pooler Police Department, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Bloomingdale Police Department, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys E. Greg Gilluly Jr. and Frank Pennington. For any questions, please contact the United States Attorney’s Office at (912) 652-4422.


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

Updated September 16, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 93-19