Final defendant sentenced in conspiracy that shipped cocaine from California to Savannah
SAVANNAH, GA: The last of four defendants has been sentenced to federal prison in a drug trafficking conspiracy that shipped cocaine and cash from coast to coast.
Kevin Chelsea, 39, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to 37 months in prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Judge William T. Moore also ordered Chelsea to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“Kevin Chelsea and his co-conspirators were foolishly brazen in their efforts to use the U.S. Postal Service to ship drugs east to Savannah, and then mail cash westward to Los Angeles,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “Our vigilant law enforcement partners unpacked the plot and brought these drug-mailers to justice.”
As described in court documents and testimony, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in November 2018 began investigating a series of shipments sent from Los Angeles to Savannah. The conspirators, who operated from about Augusta 2016 through December 2019, used multiple aliases to ship kilos of cocaine to various Savannah addresses controlled by others in the conspiracy, who in turn mailed large amounts of cash back to the conspirators in California.
The conspirators attempted to hide drugs and cash in boxes that also contained items including coloring books, pens, markers, and wrapping paper.
Chelsea’s aunt and west coast co-conspirator, Aderiauna Crystal Shorter, 52, of Long Beach, Calif., is serving a 114-month sentence after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine, and Money Laundering Conspiracy. Their east coast connection, Carlton Anderson, 42, of Savannah, and Lisa Williams, 42, of Savannah, both pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine. Anderson is serving 135 months in federal prison, while Williams is serving a 96-month sentence.
“The United States Postal Inspection Service works diligently with its local, state and federal partners, to investigate cases like these where the United States mail is used for the trafficking of illegal narcotics and its related proceeds,” said Joseph Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the Miami Division of the USPIS. “This case is a perfect example of this teamwork, which resulted in multiple seizures and arrests across the country.”
“Drug traffickers often take extreme measures in hiding the poison they peddle,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “This is a perfect illustration of the battle DEA and its law enforcement counterparts face when trying to prevent dangerous drugs from hitting the streets in our communities. As a result of DEA’s multi-level law enforcement collaboration and the subsequent prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Chelsea and his co-conspirators will spend well-deserved time in prison.”
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Savannah Resident Office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team, and the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank M. Pennington II.
Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422