March 01, 2021

Drug trafficking investigation indicts 48 defendants for conspiracy, including three prison guards

Jan 14, 2021 | ,

Operation targeted violent gang members in Coffee County area

WAYCROSS, Georgia – Nearly 50 people have been indicted in a drug trafficking investigation that targeted violent gang members distributing methamphetamine and other drugs in the Coffee County area.

Dubbed Operation Sandy Bottom, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation centered in the Sand Ridge neighborhood on the east side of Douglas, Ga., in an area known as “the bottoms,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The 57-count indictment alleges that the conspiracy, controlled by a subset of the violent Gangster Disciples street gang, used guns, violence and fear to control methamphetamine trafficking operations throughout the community and to enable contraband distribution inside Georgia prisons.

“This operation once again demonstrates the success of our relentless pursuit of criminal street gangs and their violent, illegal activities,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “Thanks to the outstanding work of our law enforcement partners, drug traffickers are getting the message that they have no place to operate in the Southern District of Georgia.”

“Operation Sandy Bottom is another example of the FBI’s willingness to respond when our partners in law enforcement and their communities ask for help,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “When we team our resources with the resources of our local, state and federal partners, gang members better beware. The removal of drugs, weapons and gang members from the streets of Douglas and surrounding communities immediately makes those communities safer.”

“ATF will continue to dedicate federal resources in pursuit of eradicating firearms related violent criminal activity in the Southern District of Georgia,” said Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

“The Georgia Department of Corrections maintains a zero-tolerance policy for individuals who perpetrate criminal activity from behind the walls of our facilities and jeopardize our non-negotiable mission of public safety,” said Corrections Commissioner Timothy C. Ward. “We appreciate the support of our state and federal partners in ensuring that justice is served on these individuals.”

The investigation began in 2018 when the Coffee County Drug Unit, responding to complaints about the increasing level of violence and drug activity in the Sand Ridge neighborhood, enlisted the assistance of the FBI and the Coastal Georgia Violent Gang Task Force. The indictment alleges that the conspiracy controlled multiple “trap houses” to store and distribute illegal drugs, primarily methamphetamine, coordinated by leaders of a violent street gang who distributed drugs throughout Coffee, Bacon, Emanuel, Jeff Davis, Pierce and Wheeler counties, along with other parts of Georgia.

Investigators infiltrated the operation, intercepting multiple kilograms of drugs and nearly two dozen illegally possessed firearms, along with seven vehicles and more than $12,000 in cash identified as drug-trafficking proceeds.

The operation also identified and charged at least three Georgia state correctional officers alleged to have worked with gang members to smuggle contraband cell phones and illegal drugs to inmates affiliated with the conspiracy. In some cases, contraband phones were used from inside prisons to facilitate drug trafficking operations.

Multiple law enforcement agencies on Tuesday, Jan. 12, conducted raids to arrest defendants who were not already in custody. Initial appearance hearings for the defendants are scheduled today and Thursday, Jan. 13 and 14, in U.S. District Court in Waycross.

Each of the defendants in Operation Sandy Bottom is charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and an amount of Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Marijuana, Eutylone (Bath Salts), and Asprazolam (Xanax). The charge carries a possible penalty upon conviction of up to life in prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.

The defendants, and any additional charges, include:

  • Jackie Kavaskia McMillan, a/k/a “Bijay,” 40, an inmate at Dooly State Prison;
  • Christina Veronda Alexander, 40, of Atlanta, also charged with Distribution of 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and an amount of Marijuana and Alprazolam; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Micah Jason Ivey, a/k/a “Scorpio,” 44, an inmate in the Coffee County Correctional Facility, also charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Brad Nikita Vickers, 33, of Douglas, also charged with Conspiracy to Use, Carry, or Possess Firearms; Distribution of Methamphetamine; Distribution of Crack Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Crack Cocaine, Eutylone, Marijuana, and Alprazolam; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; two counts of distribution of 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and an amount of Eutylone; and 19 counts of Unlawful Use of Communication Facility, a charge that refers to the use of a telephone for illegal drug distribution;
  • Shanazia Shazane Brock, a/k/a “Nan,” 25, of Douglas, also charged with Distribution of Methamphetamine; Distribution of Cocaine; Distribution of 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; Distribution of Marijuana and Eutylone; and Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • Joshua Demond McGinty, a/k/a “Oou,” 33, of Douglas, also charged with Conspiracy to Use, Carry or Possess Firearms;
  • James Lamar McGinty, a/k/a “Gang Gang,” 36, of Douglas,  also charged with Conspiracy to Use, Carry or Possess Firearms;
  • Anthony Qashawn Killiebrew, a/k/a “Luk,” 25, of Douglas, also charged with Distribution of 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; and Distribution of 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Antion DeWayne Byrd, a/k/a “Rabbit,” 42, of Nichols, Ga., also charged with Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • Phillip Lloyd Morgan, a/k/a “Tree Top,” 37, of Douglas, also charged with Distribution of 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Tabitha Nicole Wheldon, a/k/a “Pink,” 27, of Douglas, also charged with Conspiracy to Use, Carry or Possess Firearms;
  • Leo Vonza Pender, a/k/a “Metro,” 38, of Alma, Ga., also charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Coty Keatron Bailey, a/k/a “Codeen,” 39, of Willacoochee, Ga., also charged with Conspiracy to Use, Carry or Possess Firearms; and Distribution of 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Ellis Lowe Jr., a/k/a “Bukk,” 38, of Douglas;
  • Robert Lee Peak IV, a/k/a “Peako,” 35, of Valdosta, Ga., also charged with Distribution of Cocaine;
  • Daniel Laronn Lowe, a/k/a “Boochie,” 33, of Douglas, also charged with Conspiracy to Use, Carry or Possess Firearms;
  • Javarra Deshon Vickers, a/k/a “Shon,” 36, of Pembroke, Ga.;
  • Alfonzo Jerrod Brewton, 32, of Douglas, also charged with Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • Montel Jermaine Jackson, a/k/a “Teezy,” 25, of Pearson, Ga., also charged with two counts of Unlawful use of Communication Facility;
  • Ana Lisa Maria Garcia, 29, of Douglas, also charged with Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • George William Reliford, 55, of Douglas, also charged with two counts of Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • Brenda Lynn Sloan, 55, of Douglas, also charged with two counts of Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • Jeffrey Brian Voorhees, 37, of Douglas, also charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Gloria Jean Vickers, 56, of Douglas, also charged with two counts of Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • Rodney Antonio Shaw, a/k/a “Black,” 32, of Douglas, also charged with Distribution of Methamphetamine;
  • Kenric Jamal Lott, a/k/a “Big Lott,” 44, of Blackshear, Ga., also charged with two counts of Distribution of 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Marquis Jerome Jacques, a/k/a “Joc,” 29, of Nicholls, Ga., also charged with Distribution of Methamphetamine; two counts of Distribution of 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; and Distribution of 50 Grams or More or Methamphetamine;
  • Montana McGinty, 35, of Douglas, also charged with Distribution of Methamphetamine;
  • Amos Tyrone Brantley III, 38, of Ambrose, Ga., also charged with Distribution of Methamphetamine; and Distribution of 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Avie Ann Wright, 31, of Douglas, also charged with Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • Erick Eugene Hunter, 39, of Douglas, also charged with Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • Eden Dianne Wright, a/k/a “E,” 33, of Douglas, also charged with Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • Richard Young, 54, of Hazlehurst, Ga.;
  • Reggie Raynard Johnson, a/k/a “Twin,” 43, of Douglas;
  • Alexander Reyes Tyson, 44, of Douglas;
  • Ricardo Leon, a/k/a “Migo,” a/k/a “Ricky,” 29, of Swainsboro, Ga.;
  • Michael Latrella Scott, a/k/a “Micah Scott,” a/k/a “Mike G,” 35, of Tifton, Ga.;
  • Naiyah Nicole Williams, 30, of Hazlehurst, also charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and an amount of Marijuana and Alprazolam; and Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises;
  • Tomika Nicole Evans, a/k/a T-Dog,” 37, of Lakeland, Ga.;
  • Michael Anthony Thomas, a/k/a “Big Mike,” of Savannah, also charged with two counts of Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • Zachary Brian Rodrigues, 29, of Douglas, also charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Christopher Downing Stone, 32, of Broxton, Ga., also charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Idalis Qua Dazia Harrell, 24, of Douglas, a guard at Coffee County Correctional Facility, also charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana; s
  • Jessica Azaelae Burnett, a/k/a “The Madam,” 41, of Douglas, a senior guard at Coffee County Correctional Facility, also charged with Unlawful Use of Communication Facility;
  • Ebony Desiree Smiley, a/k/a “Baby Girl, 24, of Vidalia, Ga., a guard at Wheeler State Prison;
  • Nathan Fabron Irving, 24, of Forsyth, Ga. an inmate a Wheeler State Prison;
  • Makarosi Maurice Walker, a/k/a “Jazz,” 26, of Douglas; and,
  • Ronnie Dale Moore, a/k/a “Guap,” 36, of Douglas, also charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Oxycodone, Marijuana and Alprazolam.

Altogether, the 48 defendants are charged with 129 felonies.

Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. It is being investigated by the FBI and the FBI Coastal Georgia Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office and the Coffee County Drug Unit; the Georgia Department of Corrections; the Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Office; Pierce County Sheriff’s Office; Bacon County Sheriff’s Office; Emanuel County Sheriff’s Office; Lanier County Sheriff’s Office; the Blackshear Police Department; Nicholls Police Department; Douglas Police Department; Alma Police Department; the Glynn County Police Department; the Brunswick Police Department; the Swainsboro Police Department; and the Coffee County Department of Family and Children Services.

The cases is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph McCool, Frank Pennington II and E. Greg Gilluly, with asset forfeitures coordinated by Xavier A. Cunningham, Section Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Recovery Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

For any questions, please contact Barry Paschal at the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (912) 652-4422.

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