60+ Defendants Charged in Series of Indictments Targeting Major Gang-related Transnational Drug Traffickers

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SAVANNAH, GA:  A series of federal indictments unsealed in the Southern District of Georgia charges more than 60 defendants with felonies targeting interrelated, gang-affiliated transnational drug trafficking conspiracies that provided a pipeline of illegal drugs to coastal and south Georgia.

The investigation and indictments grew from recent drug trafficking prosecutions in Operation Vanilla Gorilla, which sent 43 felons to federal prison, and Operation Who’s Laughing Now, with 19 felons sentenced to prison, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The investigations and prosecutions, under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, targeted widespread, gang-related drug trafficking organizations in the Southern District and beyond.

“The relentless, deliberate and systematic focus on large drug-trafficking rings, particularly those that use criminal street gangs to funnel narcotics from drug cartels into the Southern District, continues to disrupt and dismantle these poison-peddlers in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “It takes a network to defeat criminal gangs, and the collaboration with our law enforcement partners provides a powerful and effective network.”

The indictments in Operation Krack Down I and II, and Operation Stranded Bandit, allege the drug trafficking schemes began as early as 2017, and operated in Chatham, Liberty, Bryan, McIntosh, Wayne, Glynn, Tattnall, Effingham and Long counties, and in surrounding communities. The conspiracy transported illegal drugs into the Southern District from Mexico and Atlanta, aided by multiple criminal street gangs. In addition to the violent white supremacist Ghost Face Gangsters, gang affiliations among the defendants include the Chicago-based Almighty Simon City Royals; La Raza/SUR 13; Bloods; Vice Lords; Gangster Disciples; and Aryan Brotherhood.


As described in court documents, the defendants – many of them previously convicted felons – used their gang affiliations to aid in drug distribution while promoting “a climate of fear.” Some of the defendants, while incarcerated on state charges at the Georgia Department of Corrections Coastal Transition Center in Savannah, recruited others to the conspiracy and planned trafficking operations.

Led by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), investigators from the Chatham County Police Department, the Savannah-Chatham Counter Narcotics Team (CNT) and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies seized multiple kilograms of methamphetamine, along with large amounts of heroin and cocaine. Investigators also seized more than 60 illegally possessed firearms, with 19 of the defendants indicted on a total of 37 firearms-related offenses.

The investigation also developed information expected to aid in the investigation of a June 2019 murder that occurred during a Chatham County home invasion.

“This long-term investigation was a concerted, collaborative effort on the part of ATF and its federal, state and local partners to target criminal gang activity in the Southern District of Georgia,” said Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the ATF. “The resulting indictments are a great example of how you leverage law enforcement resources to target the offenders driving crime in the region.”

“Residents in a number of south Georgia communities can sleep better tonight knowing that the violent gang-related drug traffickers in this case can no longer peddle poison on the streets,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “This case demonstrates how DEA and its law enforcement partners present a united front to disrupt, dismantle and destroy drug distribution networks.”

“This series of indictments is the direct result of the effective partnership between our local, state, and federal agencies,” said GBI Director Vic Reynolds. “We will work tirelessly together to hold accountable gang members and drug dealers who terrorize our neighborhoods. The GBI is dedicated to thoroughly investigate violent offenses to lead to successful prosecution.”

“Our detectives know that one crime is often linked to another, and they worked diligently to get several of these defendants into custody,” said Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley. “We do not leave stones unturned, and look forward to our continued cooperation with fellow law enforcement agencies as we work together to put a stop to these dangerous criminal operations.”

A 40-count indictment in the Savannah Division in Operation Stranded Bandit names 35 defendants:

  • Greg Baker, 31, an inmate at Wheeler Correctional Facility, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA (Ecstasy), and Alprazolam (Xanax), a charge that carries a penalty of up to life in prison; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • Jason Barker, 31, an inmate at the Chatham County Detention Center, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; and Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Tiffany Barton, a/k/a “Bozar,” 37, of Ellabell, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Victor Blanco Lopez, a/k/a “Victoriano,” 50, an inmate at the Clayton County, Ga., Jail, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Joseph Joshua Boring, a/k/a “Josh,” a/k/a “JB,” 31, an inmate at the Chatham County Detention Center, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Leroy Bozarth, a/k/a “Jack Turtlehead,” 37, an inmate at the Sheridan Correctional Center in Sheridan, Ill., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; and Possession with Intent to Distribute MDMA;
  • Edward Evan Branen, 38, an inmate at the Chatham County Detention Center, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; Possession of a Firearm by an Illegal Drug User; Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • Marquise Byrd, 29, an inmate at the Effingham County Jail, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; four counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • Nathan Coughlin, 35, an inmate at the Chatham County Detention Center, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; two counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Alprazolam;
  • Jacqueline Echols, a/k/a “Jackie,” 35, of Savannah, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • Danielle Edgerton, 34, of Bloomingdale, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Lee Allen Edwards, 38, of Fleming, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; two counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine; Possession of a Firearm by an Illegal Drug User; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • Thomas Logan Edwards, 38, of Fleming, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Yesica Garcia, 28, an inmate at the Jones County Jail, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Joshua Griffin, a/k/a “Dough Boy,” 35, of Savannah, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • William Hamilton, a/k/a “Hambone,” 40, of Guyton, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • April Hardy, 36, of Savannah, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; and Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Holly Heddle, a/k/a “Goldie Locks,” 27, of Pooler, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; and three counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Christopher Grass, a/k/a “Chris Lane,” a/k/a “Joker,” 36, of Hinesville, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Dustin Lax, a/k/a “Wingnut,” a/k/a “Tyrone White,” 45, an inmate at Wilcox State Prison,  charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Craig Mitchell, a/k/a “Rojo,” 46, an inmate at Georgia Department of Corrections Milledgeville, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Pratt Mitchell, 40, of Bloomingdale, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Ruth Monje, a/k/a “CC,” 28, an inmate at the Jones County Jail, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Jesse Myers, 37, of Bloomingdale, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Ashley Renee Parrish, a/k/a “Kickin Renee,” 35, of Savannah, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; Possession of a Firearm by an Illegal Drug User; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; and two counts of Distribution of 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Justin Path, a/k/a “JP,” a/k/a “Sherm,” 29, an inmate at the Chatham County Detention Center, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Jonathan Richardson, a/k/a “G,” 37, of Savannah, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • David Hamilton Sharpe, a/k/a “David Dukkedoff,” 27, of Augusta, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • Michael Brandon Sharpe, 44, of Pembroke, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Kristin Sheppard, a/k/a “Kristin Shine,” a/k/a “K Shine,” 30, an inmate at the Chatham County Detention Center, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; and Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Heather Sloan, a/k/a “Honey,” a/k/a “Penny,” a/k/a “Marie,” 34, an inmate at the Chatham County Detention Center, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam;
  • Austin Tyler Todd, a/k/a “Mario,” 31, an inmate at Lee State Prison, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; and Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine and a Quantity of Heroin;
  • Reannon Warnock, 25, an inmate at the Chatham County Jail, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • Michael Travis Williams, a/k/a “Trap,” 37, an inmate at Lee State Prison, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam; Possession with Intent to Distribute MDMA; Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; and,
  • Jose Zepeda, 35, an inmate at the Jones County Jail, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin, MDMA, and Alprazolam.
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A 24-count indictment in the Savannah Division in Operation Krack Down I charges 17 defendants:

  • Beth Roberson, 35, of Richmond Hill, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin and Cocaine, a charge that carries a penalty of up to life in prison;
  • William Carl Roberson, a/k/a “CJ,” 44, of Richmond Hill, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 grams or more of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin and Cocaine;
  • Dodge Roberson, 43,  of Midway, Ga., charged with  Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin and Cocaine;
  • Elizabeth Ashlee Rayman, 28, of Ludowici, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin and Cocaine; and two counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • Deron Hopkins, a/k/a “Big D,” 33, of Hinesville, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin and Cocaine; two counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; and Possession of a Firearm by an Illegal Drug User;
  • Trevor Blount, 30, of Fleming, Ga., charged with  Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin and Cocaine; and National Firearms Registration (alleging possession of an unregistered, sawed-off shotgun);
  • Michael Haggerty, 34, of Hinesville, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin and Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Cocaine; Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; and two counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • Almon Drew Burchfield, a/k/a “Drewdog,” 46, of Ludowici, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Quantities of Heroin and Cocaine; and Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Zachary Taylor, 36, of Glennville, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine, Heroin and Cocaine; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • Kelly Taylor, 39, of Glennville, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine, Heroin and Cocaine; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • John Hope Jr., 26, of Townsend, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, and a quantity of Heroin and Cocaine; and with Interference with Commerce by Robbery, Possession of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence, and Possession of a Stolen Firearm. The latter charges stem from the Jan. 3, 2020, armed robbery of the El Cheapo Gas Station in Riceboro, Ga.;
  • Cruz Lawson, 33, of Jesup, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute methamphetamine, Heroin and Cocaine; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Heroin and Cocaine;
  • Byron Anderson, 48, of Hinesville, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute methamphetamine, Heroin and Cocaine; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • Myra Prevatt, 34, of Townsend, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, and a quantity of Heroin and Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Cocaine; Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; and three counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
  • Steven Odum, 34, of Florala, Ala., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute methamphetamine, Heroin and Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Rosaleen Behnke, a/k/a “Leena,” 40, listed as homeless, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, and a quantity of Heroin and Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine; and Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; and,
  • Tyler Marshall, 26, of Townsend, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 grams or more of Methamphetamine, and a quantity of Heroin and Cocaine; and with Interference with Commerce by Robbery in relation to the Jan. 3, 2020, armed robbery of the El Cheapo Gas Station in Riceboro, Ga.
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A nine-count indictment in the Brunswick Division in Operation Krack Down II charges eight defendants:

  • Kayode Davis, a/k/a “Yodi,” 30, of Atlanta, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin, Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine and a Quantity of Heroin; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • Bradley Harrison, 25, of Brunswick, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin; False Statements During Purchase of a Firearm; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Tyler Woodcock, 26, of Jesup, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin; and Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine and a Quantity of Heroin;
  • Bradley Scott, 28, of Jesup, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin; Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Hydromorphone;
  • Jesse Grossman, 34, of Jesup, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine, Heroin; Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Methamphetamine and a Quantity of Heroin; and,
  • Brittney Goodbread, 35, of Brunswick, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin; False Statement During Purchase of a Firearm; and Transfer of a Firearm to a Convicted Felon.
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Four additional defendants were indicted on separate federal charges related to the investigations, including:

  • Brian Sasser, 42, of Richmond Hill, Ga., charged with two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
  • Brittny Hilton, 24, of Fleming, Ga., charged with two counts of False Statement During Purchase of a Firearm; and two counts of Transfer of a Firearm to a Prohibited Person.
  • Amanda Orrell, 40, of Savannah, charged with False Statement During Purchase of a Firearm; and Transfer of a Firearm to a Prohibited Person.
  • Dederick Bryant, a/k/a “Hinesville D,” a/k/a “D,” 33, of Hinesville, Ga., charged with Distribution of Methamphetamine; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.

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

This cases are 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 ATF, DEA, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, GBI, CNT, the Chatham County Police Department, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, the Georgia Department of Corrections; sheriff’s offices from Effingham, Bryan, Jones, Clayton, Liberty, Chatham, Long, Glynn and Wayne counties; and police departments from Pooler, Savannah, Richmond Hill, Pembroke, Hinesville, and Glynn County. The case is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney and OCDETF Coordinator Marcela C. Mateo, and by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karl Knoche, E. Greg Gilluly Jr., and Jennifer Kirkland, in coordination with the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office, the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, the Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, and the Clayton County Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.

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