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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Twenty-six charged in series of federal indictments for drugs, illegal firearms

Operation Gunsmoke initiated with associates of criminal street gang

AUGUSTA, GA:  Twenty-six people, including associates of a violent criminal street gang, have been indicted on drugs and firearms charges after a series of investigations in Georgia and South Carolina.

The arrests in Operation Gunsmoke were announced Tuesday, March 12, in a joint press conference held at the Aiken Department of Public Safety J. Carrol Busbee Headquarters by the United States Attorneys for the Southern District of Georgia and the District of South Carolina.

The investigations were initiated by the Regional Anti-Gang Enforcement (RAGE) Task Force of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. It began in 2017 as an investigation of a member of the Bloods criminal street gang who is alleged to have coordinated continued criminal activity while being held in the Aiken County Detention Center awaiting retrial for murder in a 2008 drug-related home invasion.

From 2017 to the present, ATF agents in Georgia and South Carolina identified multiple targets in the investigation. Nine were named in 25 criminal charges listed in three separate indictments by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia, while 17 additional defendants have been indicted in the South Carolina District.

The defendants indicted in Georgia are:

George Edward Powell, 51, of Blythe, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, and multiple counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Distribution of Methamphetamine;

Keldrick Demonta Streetman, 36, of Augusta, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, Distribution of Cocaine and Distribution of Methamphetamine;

Jermarce Antonio Smith, 32, of Augusta, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Distribution of Methamphetamine;

Brandon Jermal Jenkins, 29, of Augusta, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Distribution of Methamphetamine;

Carl Walker, 56, of Augusta, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, and multiple counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;

Gwendolyn Johnson-Hill, 53, of Augusta, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Distribution of Methamphetamine;

John Willie Powell, 39, of Augusta, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and multiple counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine;

Ziquane Sandford, 21, of Hephzibah, charged with Conspiracy to Engage in the Business of Dealing in Firearms Without a License, False Statements in Acquisition of Firearms, Engaging in the Business of Dealing in Firearms Without a License, Possession of an Unregistered Short-Barreled Shotgun, and False Statements Concerning Information Kept by Firearms Dealer; and,

Jacquetta Yarbray, 23, of Hephzibah, charged with Conspiracy to Engage in the Business of Dealing in Firearms Without a License, False Statements in Acquisition of Firearms, and False Statements Concerning Information Kept by Firearms Dealer.

The 17 defendants charged in South Carolina are:

Ronald Gartrell, a/k/a “RJ,” 33, of Aiken, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, multiple counts of Distribution of Crack Cocaine, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;

Heather Collins, 42, of Aiken, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, and multiple counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine and Crack Cocaine;  

Cornelious F. McKie, 42, of Aiken, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine;

Reihn Dracon Jennings, a/k/a “Red,” 28, of Aiken, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, Distribution of Crack Cocaine, multiple counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Christopher Johnson, a/k/a “Crip,”  32, of Aiken, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, Distribution of Crack Cocaine, and multiple counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;

Quinton De’Shaun White, a/k/a “Q,” 29, of North Augusta, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, Distribution of Methamphetamine, and Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;

Kevin D. Sheppard, a/k/a “Bean O”, 35, of Jackson, charged with  Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine, multiple counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Dealing in Firearms without a License;

Benjamin Roper, 42, of Aiken, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Dealing in Firearms without a License;

Jerome Morris Simmons, 38, of Aiken, charged with Distribution of Cocaine, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Dealing in Firearms without a License;

Antonio Maurice Scrivens, a/k/a “Bucko,” 34, of Aiken, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Dealing in Firearms without a License;

Keith Williams, 29, of Beech Island, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, Distribution of Methamphetamine, Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Dealing in Firearms without a License;

Larry Thomas, 20, of Aiken, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, Distribution of Methamphetamine, Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to and In Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Dealing in Firearms without a License;

Charlie Edward Carter, 31, of Beech Island, charged with Distribution of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and Dealing in Firearms without a License;

Rudolph Keith Scott, 27, of Beech Island, charged with Distribution of Methamphetamine;

Ray Hampton Baughman, 48, of New Ellenton, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;

Xavier Mathaney, 26, of Aiken, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and

Rashad Lundy, 27, of Aiken, charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

“Our federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors continue our relentless and unwavering effort to identify, arrest, and prosecute those who threaten the safety of our neighborhoods,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “City limits, county lines, and state borders are no barrier to the professionals who fight tirelessly to eliminate drug-dealers and illegal firearms from our communities.”

“We will not stand by and let violent criminal enterprises continue victimizing our communities,” said South Carolina District U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Lydon.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina is locking arms with our law enforcement partners, and we will spare no resource to take back our neighborhoods from criminal actors who are mixing violence and illegal drug distribution. I am proud to stand with our federal, state, and local partners, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Georgia, and I applaud their excellent work in these cases.”

“ATF will continue to dedicate federal resources in conjunction with those crucial law enforcement contributions of local agencies to the pursuit of eradicating and forestalling criminal gang activity in Augusta, Ga., and its surrounding areas,” said Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the ATF. 

Agencies involved in the investigation in Georgia include the ATF; U.S. Marshals Service; Georgia State Patrol Aviation; Georgia Department of Community Supervision; Richmond County Sheriff’s Office; Burke County Sheriff’s Office; the Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia. Additional agencies in South Carolina involved in the investigation include the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division; the South Carolina Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole Services; the Aiken Department of Public Safety; the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office; the North Augusta Department of Public Safety; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina. The Wheeling, W.V., Police Department and Wheeling Satellite Office of the ATF also participated in the investigation.

An indictment contains only charges. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The cases in Georgia are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tara Lyons and Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael Marchman. 

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Contact: 
For any questions, please contact Barry Paschal at the United States Attorney’s Office at (912) 652-4422.
Press Release Number: 
28-19
Updated March 12, 2019