BRUNSWICK, GA – A Wayne County man has been sentenced to more than a decade in federal prison after a drug arrest in which a deputy was seriously injured.
Derrick Morris, a/k/a “Butta,” 33, of Jesup, Ga., was sentenced to 168 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood after pleading guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 or More Grams of Methamphetamine, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Morris also must serve five years of supervised release after completion of his prison term.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“As Morris’ arrest amply illustrated, drug trafficking can quickly turn into violent crime,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “It’s infuriating that the officer was seriously hurt during the altercation, and ultimately the community will benefit from another poison pusher being removed from the streets.”
As described in court documents and testimony, on June 27, 2019, investigators from the Appling County Sheriff’s Office stopped Morris’ vehicle after a drug deal. During the arrest, Morris fought with an Appling County deputy who was injured and later hospitalized while placing Morris in custody. A search of Morris’ vehicle and hotel room discovered additional drugs, along with drug sales paraphernalia and cash. Morris has prior felony convictions for possession and sale of illegal drugs.
“Methamphetamine poses a clear and present danger to the health and safety of communities,” said Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Atlanta Field Division. “The chemicals used to manufacture this toxic drug are dangerous. This defendant will no longer be able to manufacture and distribute this insidious drug and will spend well-deserved time in prison.”
“This is another offender we have worked closely with our local and federal partners to put away for a long time. He not only was dealing poison to South Georgia communities, but also was violent towards a law enforcement officer,” said Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Director Vic Reynolds. “This sentence should be a warning to others committing these felonies that they will be investigated and prosecuted.”
“This case abundantly illustrates that the simple refusal to follow lawful commands can change the life of both the offender and a law enforcement officer,” said Appling County Sheriff Mark Melton. “Because of Derrick Morris’ illegal actions, he’ll spend 14 years behind bars, while our deputy faces a long road to a complete recovery.”
The case was investigated by the DEA, the GBI, and the Appling County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Coordinator Marcela C. Mateo.