Twenty-Two Defendants Indicted in Drug Conspiracy
MAR 26 -- (DUBLIN, GA) - Edmund A. Booth, Jr., United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia announced that twenty-two defendants have been named in an indictment returned by a Grand Jury sitting in Savannah in connection with a major cocaine and marijuana distribution conspiracy. In an eight count indictment unsealed today, the twenty-two defendants, most of whom reside in the McRae, Telfair County, area, were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack), 500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride (powder), and quantities of marijuana and ecstasy. Other charges include possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base (crack), and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine hydrochloride (powder). The indictment names Isaac Armstrong, of McRae, and his sister, Gwendolyn Armstrong-Harris, as the leaders of the drug trafficking organization. In addition, the following person were named in various counts of the Indictment: Jemisky Darby, Leroy Barnes, Larry Donnell Hamilton, Donald McCrimmon, Anthony Walton, Marcus Wooten, Dennis Wilcher, John T. Pope, James Collins, Rodney Clark, Larry Wilcox, Mitchell Brown, Theopolis Reese, Rose Thomas, Sylvester Austin, Thedy Doneen Mcleod, Antonio Clark, Hassan Beasely, Christopher Hames, and James Austin.
Booth stated that based on the indictment, arrest warrants were issued for all of the defendants. At this time, 18 defendants have been arrested and taken into custody. Initial appearances were held today before U.S. Magistrate Judge W. Leon Barfield in U.S. District Court in Dublin, Georgia.
The case resulted from a four year investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Oconee Drug Task Force, the Georgia State Patrol, the Helena Police Department, the Telfair County Sheriff’s Office, the McRae Police Department, the South Central Drug Task Force, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia. Booth and Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division both praised the efforts of all the agencies involved and called the investigation “a great example of federal-state law enforcement cooperation.”
If convicted of the charges, the defendants face statutory penalties of up to life imprisonment and millions of dollars in fines. Booth stressed that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The lead prosecutor representing the United States is Assistant U.S. Attorney Darrin L. McCullough of Savannah.
DEA Atlanta Field Division SAC Benson recommends parents and children educate themselves about the dangers of drug abuse by visiting DEA’s interactive website by going to www.justthinktwice.com