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Feds break up South Georgia drug ring

A newly unsealed federal indictment charges nearly three dozen defendants for their involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy centered in South Georgia and reaching into the Caribbean.

Operation Carpet Ride identified drug trafficking operations in Bulloch, Burke, Candler, Effingham, Evans, Liberty, Richmond, and Tattnall counties dating back to January 2016. The conspiracy allegedly imported large quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs for distribution in South Georgia.

“The painstaking investigation in Operation Carpet Ride spans nearly six years and thousands of miles as it tracked illegal drugs flowing into the United States,” said David H. Estes, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “Our law enforcement partners have done outstanding work in identifying, investigating and disrupting this drug trafficking organization.”

Of the 32 defendants charged in the indictment, 22 are from South Georgia. Their listed addresses include Claxton, Glennville, Hinesville, Reidsville, Savannah, Statesboro, and Sylvania. The rest are from Florida or Puerto Rico.

Each defendant is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and marijuana.

The primary conspiracy charge carries a statutory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison to life. Conviction on the charge also carries a minimum of five years of supervised release following any prison term, and there is no parole in the federal system.

Other individual charges in the indictment include drug possession and distribution, maintenance of a drug-involved premises, and illegal firearms possession and use.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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