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Press Release

'Vanilla Gorilla' defendant sentenced to nearly 10 years for drug conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia
Ghost Face Gangster associate involved in methamphetamine trafficking

SAVANNAH, GA: An associate of the Ghost Face Gangsters criminal street gang will serve nearly 10 years in prison for his role in distribution of methamphetamine.

Adam Cushman, 39, of Savannah, was sentenced to 108 months in prison for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine by U. S. District Judge R. Stan Baker, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. After completion of his sentence, Cushman will serve supervised release for three years and all federal benefits will be denied for five years. There is no parole in the federal system. 

In November 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Cushman and 42 other defendants as part of Operation Vanilla Gorilla, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation into a drug trafficking organization associated with the Ghost Face Gangsters, a violent criminal street gang. Of the 43 defendants, 41 have been convicted of federal charges in this multi-district case. Cushman pled guilty within two months of being indicted.

According to information presented in court filings and in court proceedings, Cushman and other conspirators, including other associates of the Ghost Face Gangsters, distributed crystal methamphetamine throughout southern Georgia. Although tattooed with a large “G” and a skull on his chest, Cushman denied being a member of the Ghost Face Gangsters but admitted associating with others in the conspiracy.

As noted in court, Cushman’s criminal history spans two decades, with his first conviction at age 17. He has state convictions for DUI, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Sale of Methamphetamine, and Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute, among others. He was on state probation for the fifth time when he participated in the drug-trafficking conspiracy, and his federal sentence will begin immediately after he completes his prison sentence for violating state probation.

At sentencing, Cushman told the court, “Me being in prison may be the best thing that has happened to me,” and U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine agrees. “Cushman is an example of why people who sell methamphetamine should be locked up for a long time,” Christine said. “Cushman, himself, admitted that he would not have committed his crimes but for his own addiction to methamphetamine. Meth destroys lives, families and communities, and drug addicts often commit crimes to feed their addiction – as Cushman’s crimes abundantly demonstrate.”

“ATF will continue to dedicate federal resources to eradicate criminal gang activity,” said Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Operation Vanilla Gorilla was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), the premier U.S. Department of Justice program to dismantle multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations. The case was investigated by the ATF, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the Chatham County Narcotics Team (CNT), the Georgia Department of Corrections Intelligence Division, the Savannah Police Department, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond Hill Police Department, the Pooler Police Department, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Bloomingdale Police Department, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys E. Greg Gilluly, Jr. and Frank Pennington.


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

Updated May 31, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 53-19