SAVANNAH — Andre Jamaal Guyton of Ludowici was sentenced by District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. to 210 months imprisonment following his conviction on two counts of distributing controlled substances in Liberty County. The case was tried before Moore on Oct. 13 at the U.S. Courthouse in Savannah. The
judge handed down the court’s sentence Feb. 4. The evidence at the trial showed Guyton distributed ecstasy and cocaine in September 2009, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver’s office.
James Gary Blagmon of Walthourville was sentenced to 87 months imprisonment April 21 for possessing crack cocaine with intent to distribute, and Paul Simmons of Hinesville was sentenced April 8 to 60 months imprisonment for possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.
The three suspects’ sentencing was the result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the Multi Agency Crack Enforcement (MACE) Task Force for Liberty and Long counties, under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force initiative, which targets drug-trafficking organizations in the Southern
District of Georgia.
In January 2009, the MACE Task Force, then under Unit Commander Al Cato’s supervision, conducted an undercover investigation on a house on Dunlevie Road in Allenhurst, obtaining sufficient evidence to get a search warrant. The house belonged to Tom and James Blagmon, who, according to MACE investigators, were well-known drug dealers in the area.
The Blagmons’ arrests led agents to a trailer park in Long County where agents found a modified .22-caliber rifle under a sofa and remnants of drug paraphernalia. The ensuing two-year investigation led to the arrests of 34 people, including Guyton, Simmons and Blagmon, who allegedly were members of a local gang known as the Dog Pound Gang, according to law enforcement officials.
Former MACE case agent Kevin Grogan, who was the lead MACE agent for the case during the investigation, said he had tracked the gang’s activity in Liberty County back as far as 1996.
The bust netted agents 14 guns, $11,300 in cash, three cars were confiscated and agents recovered 16.5 ounces of powder cocaine, 8.3 ounces of crack cocaine 6.25 pounds of marijuana and 166 MDMA pills (ecstasy). The drugs were believed to have a street value of $75,000, the Courier reported in February 2009.
Of the 34 arrested, six suspects were tried at the federal level, including Guyton, Blagmon and Simmons. Other suspects sentenced at the federal level were Christopher Green, who was sentenced to 120 months for possession of firearms by a convicted felon; Toddrick Stevenson, who received 120 months for possession of crack cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony; and Antoine Ware, who was sentenced to 30 months for possession of crack with intent to distribute.
"This investigation demonstrates the effectiveness of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program in encouraging cooperation between federal, state and local agencies," U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver said. "I am particularly pleased that the FBI and DEA were able to assist the hardworking investigators of the MACE Drug Task Force in making successful cases against Mr. Guyton and his related defendants."
Grogan said, "The United States Attorney’s Office should be credited with recognizing how these violent and habitual offenders disrupt the lives of the citizens in our community. They felt it was important enough to assist us in prosecuting these people at the federal level and keeping them off our streets."
The case against Guyton was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karl Knoche.