Lead defendant sentenced in middle Georgia methamphetamine-trafficking conspiracy

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

DUBLIN, GA:  The lead defendant in a now-disrupted Laurens County methamphetamine-trafficking ring has been sentenced to federal prison after admitting to his leadership role in the conspiracy.

David Alex Monroe, 32, of Dexter, Ga., was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. As part of the plea, Monroe forfeited a machine gun, an illegal short-barrel rifle, and two silencers seized during the investigation, and abandoned his interest in 54 additional firearms. U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen also fined Monroe $2,000 and ordered him to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison term.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“While many of the defendants implicated in this large-scale drug trafficking organization await their day in court, it is significant that the leader has been sentenced for his role in the conspiracy,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “David Alex Monroe is being held accountable for profiting from misery in the greater Laurens County area, and I am committed to directing our resources toward these crimes which are often catalysts to violent crime in our district.”

Monroe, for whom Operation Monroe Doctrine was named, was indicted in July 2021 along with 29 other defendants in USA v. Monroe et. al. The indictment was the culmination of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation that identified a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy operating throughout Laurens and Telfair counties and beyond, operating from at least January 2020 through January 2021.

As described in court documents and testimony, Monroe conspired with other defendants, including a supplier, to distribute illegal drugs throughout the greater Dublin and Laurens County community. Of the 30 defendants, three have now been sentenced; four await sentencing after pleading guilty; and 22 defendants await trial and are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

“This investigation was a success thanks to the hard work and exceptional cooperation between law enforcement professionals from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, the DEA, the ATF, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Laurens County Sheriff Larry Dean. “I pledge to continue to the best of my ability, using the best resources available, to protect the citizens of Laurens County from drug traffickers.”

“This dangerous ‘meth’ trafficker was caught because of the joint efforts between DEA and its law enforcement partners,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Atlanta Field Division. “This defendant will now spend well-deserved time in prison and his sentencing makes the South Georgia community a safer place today.”

“ATF is committed to assisting our law enforcement partners in targeting armed drug traffickers and removing them from our communities” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Beau Kolodka. “Monroe’s use of a machinegun and other firearms as part of his drug trafficking operation highlights the danger that he posed to the community and law enforcement and we are proud to announce that he will be spending a substantial amount of time in prison.”

The case was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF). OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States, using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

The case was investigated by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and the Ocmulgee Drug Task Force, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. Harper III, Frank M. Pennington II, and Southern District of Georgia OCDETF Coordinator Marcela C. Mateo.