Sentencings in Operation ‘The Hole’ wrap up prosecution of middle Georgia drug trafficking conspiracy

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DUBLIN, GA:  Prison terms for two of the remaining defendants in a Laurens County-area drug trafficking conspiracy wrap up a major middle Georgia prosecution.

Zandera Finney, 35, of Warner Robins, Ga., was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Controlled Substances, while Desergio Kates, a/k/a “Serg,” 24, of Dublin, Ga., was sentenced to 14 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen also ordered each defendant to pay a fine of $1,500.

“An outstanding collaborative effort from multiple law enforcement partners in Operation ‘The Hole’ identified and shut down a brazen drug-trafficking conspiracy in the greater Laurens County community,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “As a result, these poison merchants are now being held accountable.”

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Operation “The Hole” was an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation coordinated by agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and the Ocmulgee Drug Task Force. The investigation targeted a drug-trafficking ring moving large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana into the Laurens County area starting as early as 2013. Along with other Dublin-area drug-sales locations, the investigation identified a rented backyard shack called “The Hole” as the “trap house,” or central distribution site, complete with a retail-like service counter for drug transactions.

During the execution of multiple federal search warrants, agents seized pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, along with two dozen firearms, nearly $37,000 in cash, gold and silver with an estimated value of $90,000, devices for pressing bricks of cocaine, pill presses, a stolen vehicle, and two stolen generators with lights. Additional drugs, firearms and cash also were discovered during individual arrests of the eight defendants.

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The lead defendant in the case, Quaveris Leshaun Mims, a/k/a “Strong,” 49, of Dublin, Ga., is awaiting trial on charges including Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Controlled Substances, and is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The remaining defendants in the case all are serving federal prison sentences after pleading guilty in the case:

“These poly-drug trafficking activities posed a significant threat to the quality of life in Middle Georgia,” said the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division Robert J. Murphy. “These defendants will spend well-deserved time in prison and their apprehension makes our communities a safer place today.”

Operation The Hole was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), the premier U.S. Department of Justice program to dismantle multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations. Agencies involved in the investigation include the DEA; the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF); the FBI; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office; Ocmulgee Drug Task Force; the Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office; the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office; the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office; the Washington County Sheriff’s Office; the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office; and the Warner Robins Police Department, and is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia Rhodes and Henry W. Syms Jr.

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