Tifton Bartender Pleads Guilty for Distributing Meth, Fentanyl from L.A. to South Central Georgia

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

VALDOSTA, Ga. – A Tifton man who was working as a bartender while brokering large amounts of methamphetamine and fentanyl pleaded guilty to distribution.

Edgar Fernando Neri aka Colocho, 21, of Tifton, Georgia pleaded guilty to distribution of methamphetamine before U.S. Senior District Judge Hugh Lawson on June 21. Neri faces a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment to be followed by at least three years of supervised release and a maximum $1,000,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 21. There is no parole in the federal system.

“The defendant was attempting to move large amounts of methamphetamine and fentanyl into a small South Central Georgia community; discussions of trafficking firearms, a rocket launcher and body armor also occurred, further illustrating the violent criminal element surrounding the illegal distribution of drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “We are working with law enforcement at every level to hold individuals accountable for those crimes which most affect the safety and security of our region.”

“A large amount of illegal drugs was taken off the streets of South Central Georgia. We will continue to dedicate resources to investigating drug activity to make our communities safer. Thank you to our federal partners for being a force multiplier when it comes to successfully investigating and prosecuting these types of cases,” said GBI Director Vic Reynolds.

“This defendant posed a clear and present danger to the Tifton community by dealing in dangerous drugs, including discussions of firearms trafficking,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division. “Thanks to collaborative partnerships between the DEA and its law enforcement partners, this defendant no longer poses a threat to Tifton and elsewhere.”

According to court documents, GBI agents developed a confidential source (CS) in late August 2021 who had information regarding the distribution of methamphetamine in Tifton (Tift County). The CS had been purchasing from a local bartender known as “Colocho” who was wanting the CS to purchase larger amounts of drugs that would come from a source in Los Angeles. During the course of the investigation, Neri discussed moving pounds of methamphetamine, multiple kilos of cocaine, as well as the purchase of body armor, rifles, a rocket launcher and rockets with his supplier in California.

Multiple controlled purchases of methamphetamine were made from Neri and Neri arranged for shipments of more methamphetamine and fentanyl pills, also referred to as “Percocet,” from the source. Packages containing three pounds of methamphetamine and 1,990 blue fentanyl pills were sent from Neri’s source in L.A. to Tifton in Oct. 2021; Neri was taken into custody on Oct. 19, 2021. Neri is being held responsible for distributing 1,290.93 grams of actual methamphetamine based on the high level of purity of the methamphetamine involved and 1,990 pills containing fentanyl and weighing 205.92 grams.

The case was investigated by DEA, GBI and the Tift County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. McCullers is prosecuting the case.