Seven Defendants Indicted on Federal Charges in Drug-Trafficking Conspiracy
Investigation grew out of major Toombs County operation
STATESBORO, GA - Seven defendants are accused of participating in a major drug trafficking conspiracy in an indictment newly unsealed in U.S. District Court.
The investigation in Operation Ace in the Hole II, under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), targeted the distribution of heroin and fentanyl-tainted heroin in the Vidalia, Ga., and greater Toombs County area, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Each of the defendants is charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Heroin, Eutylone (bath salts), Fentanyl, and Methamphetamine, a charge that carries a statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.
“In the wake of the nation’s opioid epidemic, DEA and its law enforcement partners will continue to work tirelessly to stem the tide against this national security threat,” said the Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Atlanta Field Division Robert J. Murphy. “The indictment of these defendants is a proactive step that DEA and its law enforcement partners will continue to take to help stem the tide against the public health crisis.”
“The availability of deadly fentanyl and its chemical analogues has led to an alarming rise in overdoses and overdose deaths in the Southern District and throughout the nation,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “With our law enforcement partners, we will continue to seek the sources of these illegal drugs and bring their dealers to justice.”
After the federal indictment of 26 defendants in January 2020 in Operation Ace in the Hole, investigators with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, the Toombs County Sheriff’s Office, and others, continued seeking sources and suppliers of heroin and other illegal drugs throughout the Vidalia area. Operation Ace in the Hole II, as outlined in USA v. Page, et al., charges seven defendants as participants in the drug trafficking conspiracy. The indictment, returned in May 2021 by a U.S. District Court Grand Jury, was unsealed this week.
Those named in the indictment are: Creg Antonio Page, 45, of Reidsville, Georgia.
Phillip Adams, 36, of Lyons, Georgia.
Servontae Quarshawn Powell, 37, of Vidalia, Georgia.
Debra Carol Strickland, 20, of Lyons, Georgia.
Cameron Earl Williamson, 33, of Lyons, Georgia.
Erika Susan Highsmith, a/k/a Erika Susan Barrow, 28, of Lyons, Georgia.
Tiffany Hunt, 40, of Vidalia, Georgia.
In addition to drugs seized during the investigation, the indictment also includes the seizure of six firearms.
Initial court appearances for all defendants have been held. Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Of the 26 defendants in Operation Ace in the Hole, 23 have entered guilty pleas; 17 of them have been sentenced, with terms of up to 188 months in prison. Three defendants are awaiting trial.
The case was investigated under the 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.
Operation Ace in the Hole II is being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, the Toombs County Sheriff’s Office, the Vidalia Police Department, and the Lyons Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph McCool and Noah J. Abrams.
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.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com, www.CampusDrugPrevention.gov, and www.dea.gov . Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv