Leader of Waycross-area drug trafficking conspiracy sentenced to decades in federal prison
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia
All six defendants sentenced in investigation of drug overdose deaths
WAYCROSS, GA: The leader of a south Georgia fentanyl- and heroin-trafficking operation linked to drug overdose deaths has been sentenced to more than 20 years in federal prison.
Eric Lashawn Hayes, a/k/a “Pee Wee,” 39, of Blackshear, Ga., was sentenced to 262 months in prison after previously pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Possession of Fentanyl with Intent to Distribute, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood also ordered Hayes to serve eight years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“The investigation of Eric Hayes and his co-conspirators – including his three brothers – exposes the horrors of the growing fentanyl menace in the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Steinberg “An alarming number of overdoses and deaths drew attention to these drug dealers, and they are being held accountable for distributing poison throughout the Waycross area.”
Hayes was one of six defendants named in February 2021 in U.S.A. v. Hayes, et. al, an indictment targeting a drug distribution network in the greater Waycross area. The Pierce and Ware County Sheriff’s Offices initiated the investigation in July 2020 after multiple drug overdoses attributed to heroin and fentanyl, including three deaths. The Savannah Office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration joined the investigation, which identified Hayes as a source of supply for the illegal drugs.
The investigation culminated in the indictments of the six defendants, all of whom have been sentenced after pleading guilty to felony charges. They include:
- Cyrlus LaShawn Hayes, a/k/a “Dubo,” 45, of Waycross, Ga., a brother of Eric Hayes, serving 120 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute, and to Distribute, Fentanyl and Heroin;
- Davey Green, a/k/a “Little Dave,” 35, of Waycross, Ga., half-brother of Eric Hayes, sentenced to 58 months in prison after pleading guilty to Distribution of Fentanyl;
- Renalba Jamar Green, a/k/a “Reno,” 35, of Waycross, Ga., another half-brother, sentenced to 24 months in prison for using a cell phone to conduct illegal drug trafficking activity;
- Crystal Champagne, 34, of Waycross, Ga., serving 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to Distribution of Fentanyl; and,
- Preston Connor Luke, 27, of Blackshear, Ga., sentenced to three years’ probation for Distribution of Fentanyl.
“Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin – the combination of these deadly substances has claimed many lives,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “Because of the efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement, these defendants can no longer distribute these dangerous and potentially deadly substances.”
The case was investigated by the Savannah Office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Ware County Sheriff’s Office, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, and the Blackshear Police Department, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank M. Pennington II.
Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422
Updated March 13, 2023
Press Release Number: 21-23
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