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Press Release

Lead defendant sentenced in Burke County drug trafficking investigation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia
Atlanta-area man supplied cocaine for local distribution

AUGUSTA, GA:  An Atlanta-area man has been sentenced to federal prison after admitting his role in a major drug trafficking conspiracy that funneled cocaine and other drugs through Atlanta to the Waynesboro, Ga., area.

Chadric Antonio Rhaney, a/k/a “Chad,” 42, of Powder Springs, Ga., was sentenced to 88 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute, and to Distribute, Cocaine, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall also ordered Rhaney to forfeit $68,610 seized during the investigation.

“The success of Operation Washout serves as an outstanding example of the value of partnerships between federal, state and local agencies,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “These collaborative efforts will continue to identify and remove from our communities those who would drive violent crime through the proliferation of illegal drugs.”

The indictment in USA v. Rhaney et al, dubbed Operation Washout, was coordinated through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration developed information about cocaine trafficking from Mexico, through California to Atlanta, and then primarily to distributors in Burke County. Investigators from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office then worked with the DEA to develop the investigation that identified the defendants and led to searches and subsequent seizures of cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, drug trafficking paraphernalia, cash, and more than two dozen firearms.

In addition to Rhaney, who was identified as the source of cocaine coming into the Burke County area from Atlanta, two other defendants have been sentenced and four await sentencing after pleading guilty to related charges in the conspiracy. The final two defendants are awaiting trial, and are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

“The sentencing of the lead defendant in this case slams the door on a major conspiracy to peddle poison (cocaine) in Burke County and the surrounding area,” said the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division Robert J. Murphy. “DEA and its law enforcement partners are committed to tracking down and bringing to justice those who pollute our neighborhoods with illegal drugs.”

Agencies investigating Operation Washout include the DEA and the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Probation Service; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Georgia National Guard Counterdrug Task Force; the Screven County Sheriff’s Office; the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office; the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office; and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry W. Syms Jr.

The case was investigated under the 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.


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

Updated August 15, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 108-22