Leader of Savannah-area drug trafficking conspiracy sentenced to decades in federal prison
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia
All defendants pled guilty in Operation Deadlier Catch
SAVANNAH, GA: The leader of a drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed kilos of cocaine and large amounts of other illegal drugs throughout the coastal Georgia area has been sentenced to more than 25 years in federal prison, concluding prosecution of Operation Deadlier Catch.
Joseph Bulloch, a/k/a “Lil Joe,” 34, of Savannah, was sentenced to 310 months in prison after previously pleading guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 28 Grams or More of Crack Cocaine, and Quantities of Heroin and Marijuana; Possession of a Firearms by a Convicted Felon; and Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker also ordered Bulloch to serve five of supervised release upon completion of his prison term.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“Our law enforcement partners in Operation Deadlier Catch did outstanding work in identifying and shutting down this large-scale drug trafficking network, removing a threat of illegal drugs and its attendant violence from our community,” said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. “We will continue to coordinate our efforts to protect our neighborhoods from dangerous drugs.”
Operation Deadlier Catch, as described in court documents and the December 2020 indictment in USA v. Bulloch et al., infiltrated the drug trafficking network to trace the source of supply and points of distribution in the greater Savannah area. The operation, led by investigators from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team, and the Savannah Police Department, culminated in a series of searches in which agents seized more than 24 kilograms of cocaine, more than 180 pounds of marijuana, 3 kilograms of heroin, and more than a dozen firearms – many of them illegally possessed by previously convicted felons.
The indictment named 29 defendants on 27 felony counts, and with the exception of one defendant who remains a fugitive, all of the defendants pled guilty to felony charges and have been sentenced, most of them to substantial prison terms. In addition to Bulloch, key figures sentenced in the operation include:
- Ildelfonso Sanchez-Inzunza, 32, a citizen of Mexico illegally present in the United States, sentenced to 125 months in prison followed by deportation after pleading guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Heroin; Possession of a Firearm by an Illegal Alien; and Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises. The investigation identified Sanchez-Inzunza as a representative of the California-based source of supply for the drug traffickers. Agents who searched Sanchez-Inzunza’s Savannah residence found large quantities of drugs including more than 16 kilograms of cocaine and three kilograms of heroin, along with nearly $200,000 in cash.
- Kashif Collins, a/k/a “Fat Boy,” 36, of Savannah, 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. Collins managed “stash houses” and coordinated deliveries to lower-level drug dealers.
- Jontae Keel, a/k/a “Blyha,” 31, of Savannah, sentenced to 151 months in prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute, and to Distribute, 50 Kilograms of More of Marijuana. Keel’s mother, Joann Keel Robinson, a/k/a “Ma Dukes,” 55, of Savannah, and three brothers, Javontae Parrish, 32, Joseph Parrish III, 31, and Jashavious Keel, 29, all of Savannah, also were sentenced after pleading guilty to charges in the conspiracy.
One defendant, Jarnard Williams, 32, of Savannah, remains a fugitive. He is charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute, and to Distribute, 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 28 Grams or More of Crack Cocaine, and an Amount of Marijuana. He is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.
“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 Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Bulloch 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.”
Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Division, said “This career criminal can no longer distribute dangerous drugs as he now faces serious time for both his drug crimes and violent criminal conduct.”
“This investigation is a prime example of what happens when law enforcement agencies pool their resources together to achieve a common goal of protecting communities from the many perils of illegal and dangerous drugs,” said Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “Protecting the nation’s mail system from criminal misuse is core to the mission of the Postal Inspection Service, and I commend the hard work by all of our partners to bring these individuals to justice.”
“Combating narcotics in our community continues to be our core mission. The sentencing of Mr. Bulloch and his co-defendants, along with the dismantlement of his distribution network, signifies our relentless pursuit to eradicate the presence of this poison and violent crime throughout our community,” said Michael G. Sarhatt, Director of the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team. “Today is the result of a strong working relationship between Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics, the FBI, DEA, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Savannah Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s office. It is our promise to continue our commitment to keeping our streets safe and clean.”
“Thanks to extensive and trusting partnerships, a dangerous criminal will now be behind bars for decades,” said Savannah Police Chief Lenny Gunther. “Our department is committed to continued focus on partnerships and relationships to help yield similar outcomes into the future.”
Operation Deadlier Catch 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.
Agencies investigating the case included the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team, and the Savannah Police Department. The case was prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank M. Pennington II.
Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422
Updated August 3, 2023