Drug indictments

This photograph shows some of the cash that local, state and federal law enforcement authorities seized during a drug investigation dubbed Operation The Hole in Laurens County. The investigation, which has been ongoing since 2013, has led to eight defendants being arrested after they were indicted by a federal grand jury on various drug charges.

A federal grand jury recently returned a 12-count indictment against eight defendants in a major drug case stretching from Laurens County and several surrounding counties all the way to Arizona.

During the execution of search warrants by federal authorities, law enforcement agents and officers seized significant quantities of narcotics, including methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. They also seized 24 guns, about $37,000 in cash, and an estimated $90,000 worth of gold and silver, as well as devices for pressing bricks of cocaine, pill presses, a stolen car, and two stolen generators with lights.

At the time of the defendants were arrested, authorities seized additional illegal drugs, guns and cash.

The case  led to the arrests of eight people, most of whom are from Laurens County. It could lead to additional arrests, authorities say.

Several agents assigned to the Ocmulgee Drug Task Force, which is headquartered in Milledgeville, have been involved in the investigation since 2013, according to Ocmulgee Drug Task Force Commander Wesley Nunn.

Other area local law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation included the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office and Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

“We started the investigation with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office back in 2013 and then looked at the (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) DEA coming into this investigation because of the magnitude of it,” Nunn told The Union-Recorder during a telephone interview Wednesday.

Nunn said some of the investigation led law enforcement authorities all the way from Georgia to Arizona.

Nunn said the connection to Arizona was related to the supplier of drugs to individuals in Georgia. He said he couldn’t elaborate on that case since it is being conducted out of state.

“We worked this case with the Macon field office of DEA and with the Middle District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office for a while before we had to switch over to the Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office because Laurens County is located in the Southern District of Georgia,” Nunn said.

Nunn told the newspaper that parts of the puzzle began coming together several years ago when authorities seized about 50 pounds of marijuana that was brought to a residence in Wilkinson County by FedEx delivery.

“We then started tracing some things back and discovered that large amounts of marijuana [were] also being delivered to various locations in Laurens County also,” Nunn said.

At that time, the only drug known to have been involved in the illegal operation was marijuana, he said.

Authorities later discovered that it also involved large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine  and crack cocaine.

“We’re anticipating additional arrests in the case once we start sitting down with attorneys and people wanting to talk with us before going to trial,” Nunn said.

One portion of the investigation led to the recovery of a stolen car.

“The car was stolen out of Florida, but we recovered it in Laurens County,” Nunn said.

The 12-count indictment was returned by a grand jury in Savannah.

It was unsealed Feb. 4 in U.S. District Court in Dublin, according to a press release from Barry L. Paschal, public affairs officer and interim law enforcement coordinator with the Office of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.

The defendants in the case were taken into custody at the end of what they dubbed Operation “The Hole.” The investigation was given that name based on a shack that alleged conspirators used during their extensive distribution of various narcotics, according to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Bobby L. Christine.

“Our office is committed to reducing illegal drugs and violent crime in every part of the Southern District, and that includes Dublin and Laurens County,” Christine said in a prepared statement. “With our law enforcement partners, we will weed out these peddlers of poison who fuel a significant part of every community’s misery.”

Robert J. Murphy, special agent in-charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said the grand jury indictments were the direct result of the dedicated efforts between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and subsequent prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“The distribution of dangerous drugs continues to ravage many communities, but the Dublin community is safer because these defendants have been removed from the streets,” Murphy said.

The operation, which was coordinated by DEA agents, along with deputies from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and agents with the Ocmulgee Drug Task Force, targeted a drug trafficking ring that moved large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana into Laurens County, according to the press release.

Criminal indictments contain only charges, according to the press release. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The following defendants were indicted in the case:

  • Quaveris Leshaun Mims, 48, of Dublin, also known as “Strong,” was charged with conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, possession of firearms in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • Rodney Jarrod Denson, 43, of Dublin, also known as “RD,” was charged with conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to posses firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • Anthony Michael Denson, 48, of Dublin, was charged with conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and conspiracy to posses firearms in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
  • Nicholas Turner, 24, of East Dublin, was charged with conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances, and conspiracy to posses firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
  • Brandon Payne, 25, of Dublin, also known as “Tre” was charged with conspiracy to posses with intent ti distribute and to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to posses firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
  • Desergio Kates, 25, of Dublin, also known as “Serg,” was charged with conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to posses firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
  • Constance Victoria Moore, 32, of Helena, was charged with conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances.
  • Zandera Finney, 33, of Warner Robins, was charged with conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances. 

The case was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, the premier program designed by the U.S. Department of Justice to dismantle multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations, according to the press release.

Agencies involved in the investigation other than the ones already listed included: The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Warner Robins Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia Rhodes and Henry W. Syms Jr. are involved in prosecuting the case. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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