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Drug Enforcement Administration


Robert J. Murphy, Jr., Special Agent in Charge

January 08, 2021

Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell

Phone Number: (571) 362-3517

Four Bulloch County drug traffickers sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy

Citizen complaints led to discovery of meth distribution operation

STATESBORO, GA:  Four people have been sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to operating a methamphetamine distribution ring throughout Bulloch County.

The four defendants were indicted in January 2020, and three of them pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of a Substance Containing Methamphetamine, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall sentenced the defendants to prison terms, including:

Clifton Pittman, 51, of Statesboro, sentenced to 240 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, and fined $1,500;

Hope Mitchell, 45, of Statesboro, sentenced to 162 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, and fined $1,500;

Clarence Johnson, 56, of Statesboro, sentenced to 97 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, and fined $1,500; and,

Joy Leigh Horton, 36, of Metter, Ga., who pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, was sentenced to 50 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and fined $1,500.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“The sentencing of these defendants is a shining example of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s effort to confront, engage and eliminate drug distribution networks,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Atlanta Field Division. “Because of the collaborative effort between DEA and its law enforcement partners, these defendants will spend well-deserved time in prison.”

“This successful operation represents the best of law enforcement working together with citizen to remove bad elements from the community,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “When nearby residents voiced concerns about suspicious activities at Johnson’s residence, officers responded – and shut off a pipeline pouring poison into Statesboro.”

The investigation began in after residents in 2016 complained about late-night traffic at Johnson’s home, where Pittman and Mitchell also resided. After members of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office Crime Suppression Team saw evidence of suspected drug activity, they served a search warrant at the residence and seized kilos of methamphetamine and paraphernalia for distribution.

As described in court documents and testimony, the four members of the conspiracy admitted regularly transporting large amounts of methamphetamine into Bulloch County from an Atlanta supplier. The drugs then were sold to local distributors to resell in the Statesboro area.

“Georgians deserve to live in a safe and drug-free environment. Citizens can take an active role in assisting law enforcement by providing valuable tips, as demonstrated by this case,” said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds. “We will continue to work diligently with all of our partners, including citizens, to investigate and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that threaten the safety of our communities.”

The case was investigated by the DEA, the GBI, and the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank M. Pennington II and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Coordinator Marcela C. Mateo.       

The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com, www.campusdrugprevention.org and www.dea.gov. Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv.



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