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Lead defendant gets 20 years in major Statesboro drug trafficking investigation

Operation Icehawk netted 19 indictments for methamphetamine and marijuana in Screven, Effingham, Jenkins, Bulloch and Evans counties.

Operation Icehawk netted 19 indictments for methamphetamine, marijuana

The lead defendant in a Statesboro drug trafficking conspiracy has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

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Natividad Dias, a/k/a “Nat,” “Nate,” “Amigo” or “Huevos,” 46, a Mexican national who lived in Sylvania, Ga., was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison by Chief U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine, said Robert J. Murphy, Special agent in Charge of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta Field Division, and Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Dias also must pay a $10,000 fine and will serve an additional five years of supervised release after completion of his sentence. There is no parole in the federal system. 

Evidence in the case showed that Dias was a leader, organizer and recruiter of the conspiracy that distributed multi-kilogram quantities of methamphetamine, powder cocaine, and marijuana. During the operation, investigators seized kilograms of methamphetamine and multiple pounds of marijuana, along with multiple firearms.

Operation Icehawk, a joint federal, state and local investigation begun in 2015, after citizens complained about drug trafficking and violent crime in Screven County, Ga., soon uncovered a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and marijuana in Screven, Effingham, Jenkins, Bulloch and Evans counties.

In addition to Dias, other defendants in the operation include:

John Timothy Collins, 48, of Sylvania, Ga.;

John Kenneth Joyner, 47, of Sylvania, Ga.;

Palmer Alton Bazemore III, 51, of Sylvania, Ga.;

Cassie Jo Barbee, 36, of Sylvania, Ga.;

Jaime Elton Newsome, 39, of Statesboro, Ga.;

Megan Nicole Bazemore, 30, of Millen, Ga.;

Christina Elizabeth Davis, 32, of Sylvania, Ga.;

Derrick Riggs, 42, of Statesboro, Ga.;

Gary Paul Joyner, 51, of Sylvania, Ga.;

Monica Isabell Jimenez, 22, of Statesboro, Ga.;

Zackary Allen Durrence, 26, of Statesboro, Ga.;

John Dillon Joyner, 25, of Sylvania, Ga.;

Jonathan Travis Oliver, 36, of Sylvania, Ga.;

Michael Shane Bishop, 44, of Claxton, Ga.;

Jonathon Evan Oglesby, 27, of Millen, Ga.;

Alfred Anthony Woods, 28, of Sylvania, Ga.; and,

Noah Quinn Pope, 25, of Sylvania, Ga.

The 19th defendant named in the indictment currently is undergoing a medical evaluation.

“This defendant infested a number of small communities with more than methamphetamine and marijuana,” said DEA SAC Murphy. “His drug trafficking activities also led to the spread of violent crime. Thanks to our federal, state and local law enforcement partners who responded to these small communities’ call for help, this poly-drug trafficker was removed from the streets and will spend well-deserved time in prison. This case is a shining example of how success can be achieved when local, state, federal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office work together make our communities safer.”

“By operating a pipeline of illegal narcotics from Atlanta, California and Mexico, this conspiracy polluted these small communities of the Southern District as surely as if it had dumped toxic waste in the neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “The law-abiding residents saw something and said something – so we did something by bringing these drug traffickers to justice.”

“We are fortunate in the Southern District of Georgia to have such a hard-charging group of local, state and federal personnel pursuing the real bad guys,” said Jamie Jones, Special Agent in Charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Southeastern Regional Drug Enforcement Office. “Drug distributors poison and disrupt families across the state daily. This organization has been terminated, and hopefully some families will benefit from their demise.”

“This case is collaborative effort to rid violent narcotics traffickers from Screven County,” said Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  

“Methamphetamine and other drugs have devastated countless communities due to the dramatic health and public safety consequences that typically accompany its introduction into an area,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Nick S. Annan. “This sentencing stems from an extensive collaborative effort between federal, state and local enforcement partners to disrupt a drug trafficking organization responsible for flooding southern Georgia with these dangerous substances. This operation is a testament to the seamless partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies serving the citizens and communities of Georgia.”

This case is being prosecuted as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program, the premier U.S. Department of Justice program utilized to dismantle multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations.

The investigation was a joint operation of federal agencies including the DEA, HIS, ATF, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). Participating state agencies included the GBI, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. Local law enforcement included the Screven County Sheriff’s Office, Sylvania Police Department, Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, Jenkins County Sheriff’s Office, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, Evans County Sheriff’s Office, and the Claxton Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorney Marcela C. Mateo is prosecuting the case for the United States.

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