Fitzgerald man gets 20-year sentence for meth distribution

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Apr. 1—ALBANY — A southwest Georgia man guilty of drug distribution was sentenced to 240 months in prison after federal agents discovered fabric soaked in methamphetamine and crystal meth in packages at the Atlanta airport addressed to him from Mexico.

Chad Williamson, 44, of Fitzgerald, was sentenced to serve 240 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner after he pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on Sept. 8. There is no parole in the federal system.

"International drug cartels are using any means necessary to move deadly substances into this country, feeding addiction and increasing overdose deaths," U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in a news release. "Law enforcement at every level is committed to stopping and holding accountable those working with these groups to bring highly dangerous and illegal drugs into our communities."

"DEA and its law enforcement partners will continue to use every available resource to dismantle, disrupt and destroy drug distribution networks," Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division Robert J. Murphy said. "This case was successful because of the collaborative efforts between DEA and its committed law enforcement partners."

According to court documents, two packages containing methamphetamine and addressed to Williamson were intercepted by Homeland Security Investigations at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Parcel Center in March 2021. The packages were shipped from Naucalpan de Juarez, Mexico, and marked as religious image and/or Bible gift; one of the boxes contained a methamphetamine-soaked fabric, which can be chemically extracted for use. There was also approximately 450 grams of crystal methamphetamine in the packages.

DEA agents went to Williamson's residence on March 11, 2021. Williamson had removed the SIM card from his phone in an attempt to hide its contents. Williamson's probation officer administered a drug test, which Williamson failed. Williamson was placed under arrest and subsequently admitted to agents that an associate used Williamson's address for drug deliveries.

The SIM card was located, and a download of Williamson's phone showed a number of messages he had exchanged with the source of supply, saved in his phone as "Costa Chris." The messages revealed an ongoing relationship between the two regarding illicit controlled substance deliveries requiring tracking and other drug deals.

The case was investigated by DEA with assistance from HSI. Criminal Chief Leah McEwen prosecuted the case.