May 27, 2008
AUGUSTA: Edmund A. Booth, Jr., United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, announced that sixteen defendants have been named in an indictment returned by the Federal Grand Jury sitting in Savannah in connection with a major cocaine and marijuana distribution conspiracy. In a twenty-three count indictment unsealed today, the sixteen defendants, most of whom reside either in the Augusta or Atlanta area, were charged in various counts with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride (powder cocaine), possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base (crack), and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana.
The indictment names Rico Andre Bonner, Angelo Coker, Timothy Coker, Patrick Bouvier Curry, Edward Jerome Newsome, Marlo Dequail Rouse, Marcus Tyrone Murray, William Conner Hall, Christopher Jovon Daggett, Adrian Jamal Daggett, Malcolm Turner, James Walton, Diane Walton, all of Augusta
and Steve L. Shank, Thurnel Outlaw, and Reginald Clayton Thomas, all of Atlanta , as members of the drug conspiracy.
Bench warrants were issued for all of the defendants. Ten defendants have thus far been arrested. Initial appearances have been held before a Magistrate Judge for nine of the defendants, while the tenth defendant is currently in state custody.
Booth noted that the case resulted from a two-year long investigation by the Central Savannah River Area Safe Streets Task Force (which consists of representatives from the FBI, DEA, Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, and the USMS). Booth praised the efforts of all the agencies involved and called the investigation "a great example of federal-state law enforcement cooperation."
If convicted of the charges, each of the federal defendants face statutory penalties of up to 40 years imprisonment without parole and millions of dollars in fines. Booth stressed that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The lead prosecutor representing the United States is Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Green Johnson in Augusta.
Information from U.S. Attorney's Office.