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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 2, 2020

Significant prison sentence wraps up prosecutions in massive south Georgia drug trafficking scheme

Major defendant sentenced to federal prison

BRUNSWICK, GA:  A convicted drug trafficker was sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison Friday, wrapping up a federal prosecution that indicted 36 defendants in a major coast-to-coast narcotics distribution network.

Lashadre Smith, a/k/a “Shafa,” a/k/a “Shaffa Billythekid Smith,” 30, of Waycross, Ga., was sentenced to 190 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Smith also must serve five years of supervised release after completion of his prison terms. There is no parole in the federal system.

The final defendant, Phillip Johnson, a/k/a “Gunplay,” 29, of Waycross, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Five Grams or More of Methamphetamine. The remaining defendants in the investigation previously pled guilty and were sentenced to prison terms of up to 268 months.

“Not only did this wide-ranging investigation and prosecution shut down major meth distributors in the Waycross area and beyond, it also has removed from the streets three dozen criminals and gang members with a sickening total of nearly 70 felony convictions on their substantial records,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “The many law enforcement agencies who risk their lives to protect our communities from such career criminals deserve our gratitude and unwavering support.” 

The defendants, identified during a year-long undercover investigation, were named in two separate federal indictments in August 2017, alleging a conspiracy that spread from Georgia, to Florida, and to California to import methamphetamine and other drugs into the south Georgia area. Led by the FBI, the joint federal and local investigation into violent gang and drug trafficking activities in Ware, Pierce and Glynn counties led to the seizure of kilos of methamphetamine along with quantities of cocaine and marijuana, thousands of dollars in cash and multiple firearms.

“After nearly a year-long investigation and two years of court procedures we can assure citizens of Waycross and south Georgia counties, they are much safer because these criminals and their drugs are off their streets,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The success could not have been achieved without our federal, state and local partners who are part of the FBI’s Coastal Georgia Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force.”

Also involved in the investigation were the Waycross Police Department and the Ware County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Glynn County Police Department, the Brunswick Police Department, the Blackshear Police Department, the U. S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Probation Office and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision.

The cases were prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kirkland and Assistant U.S. Attorney and Organized Crime Drug Task Force (OCDETF) Coordinator Marcela C. Mateo.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422
Press Release Number: 
138-20
Updated October 2, 2020