Indictment targets large-scale drug trafficking operation in Coastal Georgia area | USAO-SDGA

SAVANNAH, GA:  More than a dozen defendants are charged in a major drug-trafficking conspiracy alleged in a 22-count indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Georgia.

Operation Snowplow II follows a series of indictments starting in June 2018 of 14 defendants in Operation Snowplow, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation into cocaine trafficking and money laundering in the Coastal Georgia area and beyond, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Building on the prosecutions in Operation Snowplow, the 29-page indictment in Operation Snowplow II, USA v. Gallegos et. al, charges 16 defendants with participating in a widespread, large-scale cocaine-trafficking conspiracy, and charges an additional defendant with trafficking marijuana. 

Conviction on the conspiracy charge carries a statutory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, with a maximum sentence of life. There is no parole in the federal system.

“In collaboration with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners in the Southern District, we continue to relentlessly pursue those who would gain profit from spreading poison in our communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “The indictments in Operation Snowplow II demonstrate the results of that commitment.”

“This organization’s alleged drug trafficking activities in association with gun violence, presented a clear and present danger to the safety and security of Savannah, Georgia residents,” said the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division Robert J. Murphy. “Now that these individuals have been indicted, citizens of the Coastal Georgia area can sleep better at night.  This investigation was a success because of spirited law enforcement cooperation between DEA and its law enforcement partners.”

“Those charged in this indictment allegedly harmed our community by spreading toxins throughout the area and further endangered our residents by allegedly using guns to do so,” said Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team Director Michael G. Sarhatt. “I am grateful for the support CNT continues to receive from our partners at the federal, state, and local levels. The cooperation in this case allowed CNT to conduct the far-reaching investigation necessary to keep our community safe.”

As alleged in the indictment, as early as April 2019, the defendants in the conspiracy coordinated shipments of kilogram quantities of cocaine into the Savannah area for distribution. The 14 firearms seized during the investigation were used to protect the drug trade and its proceeds. 

Initial court appearances for the defendants charged in USA v. Gallegos et. al have been held, and all are awaiting further proceedings. Those charged in the indictment, and their charges, include:

  • Victory Hugo Gallegos, 43, of San Antonio, Texas, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine;
  • Robert Canseco, 39, of Houston, Texas, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine;
  • Adam Mathias Garcia, a/k/a “Flako,” of Decatur, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine; two counts of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime; and two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • William Richard Moore, a/k/a “Billy,” 43, currently incarcerated at the Chatham County Detention Center, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana;
  • Aubrey Rodriquez Williams, a/k/a “Gab,” charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine;
  • Raphael Samuel Smith, a/k/a “Ray Ray,” 50, of Savannah, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Marijuana; two counts of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; and two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Japheth Charles Orr, a/k/a “Fatz,” 41, of Pooler, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine;
  • Eric Lavar Brown, a/k/a “Boss,” 37, of Pooler, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine; Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • Harold Jenkins Jr., a/k/a “Pound,” 44, of Savannah, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine; and three counts of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • Suzana Salinas-Garza, a/k/a “Suzy,” 41, of Houston, Texas, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine;
  • Christopher Joseph Shoemake, a/k/a “Shoe,” 44, of Savannah, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
  • Ebony Antonia Perry, a/k/a “Eb,” charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine;
  • Reginald Java Brown, a/k/a “Spot,” a/k/a “Red,” 46, currently incarcerated at the Chatham County Detention Center, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
  • Nolan Sental Smith, a/k/a “Hot,” a/k/a “Dredd,” 40, of Savannah, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine;
  • Vernest Cleveland, a/k/a Peanut,” a/k/a “Vito,” 40, of Springfield, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine;
  • Antonio Terez Graham, a/k/a “Weezy,” 36, of Savannah, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Cocaine; and,
  • Tamika Lashaun Huff, 38, of Scottsdale, Ga., charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana.

Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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

Agencies involved in the investigation include the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team, the FBI, the Savannah Police Department, the Chatham County Police Department, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, the Chatham County Aviation Unit, and the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

The case is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank M. Pennington II and OCDETF Coordinator Marcela C. Mateo, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Ruffini.

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Author: Editor
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