Final sentences were handed down recently by Senior District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield in the case of a large-scale drug-trafficking organization operating in Liberty, Tattnall, Appling, Glynn and Chatham counties. Several of the people involved are from Hinesville.
“Illegal drugs are not only a problem in Georgia, they are a plague on our entire nation. This organization was a threat to the South Georgia communities where it operated. Those who peddle and profit from this scourge in our communities can expect to spend years in federal prison,” United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said.
The 28 indicted co-conspirators in the organization included Tellas Levallas Kennedy, 37, of Glennville, three of Kennedy's cocaine-supply sources and his network of cocaine distributors, brokers and assistants. Terrence Stanton, 26, and Rodney Scott, 27, both of Hinesville, the two defendants who were tried by a jury on July 11, received the heftiest sentences of life imprisonment. In the federal system, there is no parole.
The other 25 defendants — nine of whom are from Hinesville — charged together in a 134-count indictment pleaded guilty and received an average sentence of more than seven years in prison. The convictions resulted from a two-year investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Agency, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Hinesville Police Department, Tri-Circuit Drug Task Force, Altamaha Drug Task Force, Glynn-Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Glennville Police Department.
The nine other defendants from Hinesville are:
• Romon Velar Mickel, 34, sentenced to 68 months in prison
• Martell Antwon Mingo, 29, sentenced to 235 months in prison
• Lawrence Michael Drayton, 38, sentenced to 188 months in prison
• Leon Varneze Pace, 32, sentenced to 20 months in prison
• Matthew Helmut Hawkins, 35, sentenced to 102 months in prison
• Gregory Ali Owens, 31, sentenced to 96 months in prison
• Deonte Jarvarys Bacon, 23, sentenced to 30 months in prison
• Stanley Edward Brown, 27, sentenced to 31 months in prison
• Shaquana Elizabeth Brown, 25, sentenced to 14 months in prison
According to the evidence presented during the trial and at several hearings, the organization distributed powder and crack cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana on a large scale in Liberty, Tattnall, Appling, Glynn and Chatham counties.
The case was prosecuted by assistant United States attorney Cameron Heaps Ippolito.