Key defendant in drug trafficking network sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison
Savannah-area traffickers targeted in Operation Deadlier Catch
SAVANNAH, GA: One of the leaders of a violent Savannah-area drug trafficking network has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison.
Kashif Collins, a/k/a “Fat Boy,” 35, of Savannah, was sentenced to 220 months in prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine, and two counts of Maintaining a Drug Involved Premises, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker also ordered Collins to serve five years of supervised release after completion of his prison sentence.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“The investigation in Operation Deadlier Catch methodically identified and disrupted a major drug trafficking network in the Coastal Georgia area, and our office continues the work of bringing the 29 defendants to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Kashif Collins is being held accountable as a leader of this group that for too long funneled illegal drugs and the associated violence into our community.”
Investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Deadlier Catch involved multiple federal agencies who traced a major source of cocaine distributed in Chatham County to a drug trafficking organization that channeled drugs from Mexico through a California supplier. The network operated at least as early as 2016, through 2020, when the 29 defendants were named in a 27-count federal indictment in U.S.A. vs. Bulloch, et al.
As described in court documents and testimony, Collins was a leader in the network who purchased kilogram amounts of cocaine and supervised lower-level dealers in selling the drugs from “trap houses” located in the Savannah area.
Investigators from the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT), and the Savannah Police Department monitored and infiltrated the drug trafficking network to trace the source of supply and points of distribution. In a series of searches, investigators seized more than 24 kilograms of cocaine, more than 180 pounds of marijuana, 3 kilos of heroin, and seized at least 14 firearms – many of them in the possession of previously convicted felons.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia also has initiated civil forfeiture proceedings for the firearms and $1.5 million in cash and other assets including vehicles and jewelry, along with two homes in Savannah that are alleged to have been used as part of the drug distribution network.
Of the 29 defendants, 13 have pled guilty, with seven sentenced and five awaiting sentencing, while 14 defendants await trail and are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in court. Two defendants are considered fugitives.
“Thanks to the hard work and collaboration of our law enforcement partners, one of the leaders of this extensive drug distribution network will spend significant time behind bars,” said Philip Wislar, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Collins and his co-defendants were a plague in the community with their drugs, guns and violence and the FBI is committed to removing every single one of these predators from our streets.”
“This high-level cocaine distributor will spend well-deserved time prison and can no longer push insidious cocaine, which poses an imminent risk to the community,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “DEA and its law enforcement partners will continue to target drug traffickers to protect communities in Savannah and elsewhere.”
“This investigation once again shows that through the cooperation of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, persistent and dangerous narcotics traffickers such as these will ultimately have to face the criminal justice system and potentially decades in prison,” said Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Miami Division. “The United States Postal Inspection Service is proud to be involved in this multi-agency effort.”
“This case once again demonstrates the importance of a collaborative approach to investigations. I am thankful for the strong relationships between CNT and our federal, state, and local partners. These partnerships are producing positive results for our community,” said Michael G. Sarhatt, Director of the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team. “It is essential that these investigations not only take down local organizations, but also successfully target the sources of supply in other locations who are responsible for the toxins being brought into this area. The sentence in this case reflects the defendant’s responsibility for the drugs and violence affecting our community.”
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. It is being investigated by the FBI, the DEA, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, CNT, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, and the Savannah Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank M. Pennington and Noah Abrams, with asset forfeitures coordinated by Xavier A. Cunningham, Section Chief of the Asset Recovery Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.