Guilty Verdict in Trial of Defendants Involved in Athens Drug Conspiracy Directed from a Georgia Prison

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

ATHENS, Ga. – Two individuals involved in a larger armed drug conspiracy operating in the Athens area were found guilty by a federal jury for their crimes late yesterday afternoon.

Brendan R. Gates, 37, of Commerce, Georgia, and Cindy Stamey, 49, of Danielsville, Georgia, were each convicted of one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; Gates was also convicted of one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The verdict was reached on Sept. 21 following a three-day trial that began on Sept. 19 before U.S. District C. Ashley Royal. Stamey faces a minimum mandatory term of ten years up to a maximum of life in prison; Gates faces a minimum mandatory term of 15 years up to a maximum of life in prison. 

The following co-defendants have all pleaded guilty for their crimes and two have been sentenced:

Malcody Dinges aka Cody aka Yes, Sir Cody, 43, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine on Dec. 16, 2021, and was sentenced to serve 240 months in prison (to run consecutive to any state-imposed sentence) to be followed by three years of supervised release;

Ervin Sales Temaj aka Milton Aguilar, 34, of Norcross, Georgia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine on April 13 and was sentenced to 121 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release;

Adonias Sales Temaj aka Alacran, 28, of Norcross, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine on July 14 and faces a minimum mandatory term of ten years up to a maximum of life in prison;

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Justin Maddox, 44, of Athens, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on Aug. 3, 2021, and faces a maximum of twenty years in prison;

Christopher Wilson, 41, of Hull, Georgia, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on April 13 and faces a maximum of twenty years in prison;

Carrie Kasper, 31, of Athens, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on July 15, 2021, and faces a minimum mandatory term of ten years up to a maximum of life in prison; and,

Katlyn Lackey, 21, of Commerce, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on May 12 and faces a minimum mandatory term of ten years up to a maximum of life in prison.

Sentencing for the defendants will occur at a date determined by the Court.

“This conviction concludes a lengthy criminal investigation into a methamphetamine drug trafficking organization operating in the Athens area with ties to a Georgia prison,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Law enforcement at every level are working to dismantle these types of criminal networks which are plaguing our communities.”

“Drug dealing breeds violence and traffickers who engage in this dangerous lifestyle often protect their drug stash with firearms,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “Consequently, these defendants will spend well-deserved time in prison. DEA and its law enforcement partners are committed to making communities safer by removing such criminals from the streets.”

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, federal agents learned in 2018 that co-defendant Dinges was conducting drug deals using contraband cell phones while in custody at Wheeler Correctional facility. During the course of the investigation, agents learned that Dinges was communicating with the co-defendants and others located in the Athens region about controlled substances; these individuals would travel to locations in Atlanta as directed by Dinges to receive methamphetamine and return to Athens to distribute the drugs. Dinges received a fee for brokering the deals. When federal agents executed a search warrant at Gates’  residence, they seized a handgun and methamphetamine.

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The case was investigated by DEA, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, the Athens-Clarke Police Department, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and the Madison County Sheriff Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara Jarrett is prosecuting the case.