Jul. 23—ALBANY — The remaining defendants guilty of participating in a methamphetamine trafficking network based out of Moultrie were sentenced to prison for their crimes.
Robert Lee Smith III, 46, of Moultrie, was sentenced to 360 months imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release after he previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. April Contreras, 31, of Moultrie, was sentenced to 262 months imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release after she pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. U.S. District Judge Louis Sands handed down the sentences. There is no parole in the federal system.
"These defendants are responsible for supplying a significant amount of methamphetamine to a quiet southwest Georgia community, much of which was orchestrated out of the local jail," U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said. "Law enforcement at every level are working to stop drug traffickers profiting from the sale of deadly controlled substances that cause overdoses and violent crime in our communities."
"The lengthy sentence in this case clearly fits the crimes," Robert J. Murphy, the special agent in charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, said. "This defendant brokered the distribution of methamphetamine, even while incarcerated. Because of the hard work and dedication of DEA and its law enforcement partners, this defendant will now have to face the consequences of his actions."
"Illegal drugs have no place in Georgia," GBI Director Vic Reynolds said. "They are dangerous and threaten the safety of our communities. We will continue to work diligently along with our local and federal partners to investigate and dismantle drug trafficking organizations."
The following co-defendants previously entered guilty pleas and were sentenced:
— Melissa Barrow, 48, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to distribution of methamphetamine and was sentenced to serve 188 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release;
— Aubrey Thompson, 55, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 96 months imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release;
— Corey Haynes, 42, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to serve 43 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release; and,
— Roderick Smith, 40, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to use of a communication facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and was sentenced to five years of probation.
According to court documents, the GBI began investigating a drug distribution conspiracy in Colquitt and Brooks counties in November 2020, initially based on information that co-defendant Contreras was selling methamphetamine in the region. During the course of the investigation, agents discovered that co-defendant Robert Smith, who was incarcerated at the Colquitt County Jail, was working with Contreras and co-defendants Thompson and Haynes in the sale of controlled substances.
Co-defendant Barrow, working under the direction of Contreras, sold methamphetamine to a confidential informant. Barrow would also collect drug proceeds on behalf of Contreras. Co-defendant Roderick Smith was directed by Robert Smith to provide cash to Contreras for the purposes of methamphetamine trafficking. In all, this methamphetamine trafficking network is accountable for the distribution of between 1.5 kilograms and 4.5 kilograms of methamphetamine.
The case was investigated by DEA, FBI, GBI, Georgia State Patrol, Lee County Sheriff's Office, Brooks County Sheriff's Office, Colquitt County Sheriff's Office and Moultrie Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melody Ellis prosecuted the case.