Nearly three dozen charged in Middle Georgia methamphetamine-trafficking conspiracy | USAO-SDGA

DUBLIN, GA:  Thirty defendants are charged in a Laurens County methamphetamine-trafficking indictment unsealed in the Southern District of Georgia.

The indictment in USA v. Monroe et. al charges 30 defendants with 56 felony counts, and includes forfeiture allegations listing 77 firearms, including a machine gun, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. All 30 defendants are charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and if convicted face a statutory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, up to life.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement partners have done outstanding work to identify, infiltrate and eliminate drug trafficking operations throughout the greater Dublin area,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “This continuing effort will make our communities safer by removing illegal drugs and illegally possessed firearms from our streets.”

“The men and women of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the DEA and The ATF spent countless hours making this investigation such a huge success, and deserve our gratitude for their hard work and sacrifice,” said Larry Dean, Sheriff of Laurens County. “This operation could not have happened without the great partnerships of these agencies, along with the support of our community’s law-abiding citizens.”   

“Strong law enforcement partnerships underscore the power of combined forces and strategic partnerships,” said Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta Field Division. “These partnerships are vital in the war against ‘meth’ and other dangerous drugs. DEA and its law enforcement partners are in the business to save lives and protect communities from the perils of drug abuse.”

“ATF will continue to dedicate federal resources in conjunction with crucial federal and local law enforcement partners to the pursuit of eradicating and forestalling criminal activity in the communities we serve in the Southern District of Georgia,” said Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation, dubbed Operation Monroe Doctrine, identified a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy operating throughout Laurens and Telfair counties and beyond. As described in the indictment, the drug trafficking ring operated from at least January 2020 through January 2021. Initial appearance hearings have begun for the defendants named in the indictment, and all are in custody pending further court proceedings.

Those named in the indictment include:

  • David Alex Monroe, 32, currently in custody at the Laurens County Jail, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime; Possession of a Firearm by a User of Illegal Drugs; Illegal Possession of a Machine Gun; and Possession of an Unregistered Firearm;
  • Jorge Hernandez-Pena, 45, of Atlanta, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; and seven counts of Use of Communication Facility, a charge that refers to the use of telephones to facilitate the conspiracy;
  • Fredi Ramirez-Garcia, 42, currently in custody in the Dekalb County Jail in Decatur, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Christopher Forbes, 31, of Dublin, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; five counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine; Possession of a Firearm by a User of Illegal Drugs; Possession of an Unregistered Firearm; and eight counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Robin Eberling, 34, of Soperton, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine;
  • David Kates, 45, currently incarcerated at Rogers State Prison in Reidsville, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Carl Davis, 48, currently in custody in the Laurens County Jail, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; and Use of Communication Facility;
  • Wanda Phillips, 40, of Adrian, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 or More Grams of Methamphetamine;
  • Timothy Bracewell, 53, of Dublin, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Jordan Gooch, 35, currently in custody at the John F. Goode Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Jacksonville, Fla., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Erica Brown, 41, of Jackson, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Rosario Cortez-Locenzo, 37, of Atlanta, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and three counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Brooke Skipper, 48, of Alamo, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Chris Horne, 31, of Vidalia, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Cody Argo, 33, of Glenwood, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Frederick Perry Jr., 34, of Vidalia, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Jeremi Kole Pullen, 36, of Dublin, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Joshua Killingsworth, 34, of Dexter, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Tommy King, 59, of Dublin, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Steven Larsen, 55, of Glenwood, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Gary Moore, 41, of Cadwell, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Robert Anthony Justice, 38, of Chester, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Joshua Brown, 41, of Dublin, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Joseph Grubbs, 45, of Dublin, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Use of Communication Facility;
  • Howard Johnson, 31, of Jacksonville, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Desaree Midyette, 27, of Jacksonville, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Alexis Weinhold, 23, of Dublin, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Justin Hobbs, 27, of Dublin, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility;
  • Maranda Stroud, 28, of Dublin, charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility; and,
  • Brandie Grizzard, 35, of Rentz, Ga., charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and two counts of Use of Communication Facility.

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

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