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DOJ’s Southern District of Georgia roots out “alpha” criminals in Augusta, multiple indictments

The Southern District of Georgia for the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, along with other agencies, hand out multiple indictments to cut down on crime in Georgia.

Indictments unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Augusta, charged 20 people with violations of federal narcotics and firearms possession laws.

Operation 30906, which coordinated federal, state and local agencies through the U.S. Department of Justice Project Safe Neighborhoods and the FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force, targeted offenders in Augusta’s highest-crime area. The operation is in response to the U.S. Attorney General’s call to fight violent crime by finding and removing “alpha” criminals in communities suffering from a disproportionate level of criminal activity, said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine.

All of those named in the federal indictments have prior felony convictions and now face charges ranging from possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, to possession of firearms by convicted felons or those conducting drug crimes. One defendant also is charged with counterfeiting United States currency. Cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana were seized during the operation, along with at least 29 firearms and approximately $1,000 in counterfeit money.

The defendants charged are:

Lequita Brady, 29, Augusta;

Jeffrey Brown, 46, Augusta;

Alphonso Burley, 27, Augusta;

Quinton Clayton, 24, Augusta;

Marty Copeland, 44, Augusta;

Adrian Curry, 39, Augusta;

Michelle Davis, 29, Augusta;

Jarmhal Gibson, 30, Augusta;

Drequan Gray, 24, Augusta;

Anthony Habersham, 54, Augusta;

Marquis Jones, 29, Augusta;

Charles King, 36, Hephzibah;

Dustin McClellan, 23, Augusta;

Von McNeely, 31, Augusta;

Keto “Silk” Morgan, 37, Augusta;

Matthew Nattinger, 39, Augusta;

Kaone Riley, 29, Allendale, S.C.;

Alvin Sturgis, 31, Augusta;

Tomario “Jabo” Thomas, 31, Augusta; and,

Dana Williams, 34, Augusta.

Additional defendants arrested during Operation 30906 face state charges, including aggravated assault, armed robbery, kidnapping and firearms offenses. Those arrested includes:

Terry Stanley, 40, Augusta;

Shawn Khaaliq Holliman, 20, Augusta;

Deondre Ware, 25, Augusta;

Marqueen Mays, 33, Hephzibah;

Alvin Bell, 20, Augusta;

Makale Austin Jones, 19, Augusta; and,

Devonte Bryant, 19, Augusta.

“The law-abiding citizens of the 30906 zip code in Augusta are victimized by a relative handful of criminals,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “This operation is a vital step toward returning the security stolen by such lawless behavior.”

“The federal indictments and resulting arrests made by the FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force, along with our law enforcement partners, is another example of our commitment to making our communities safer,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “That commitment doesn’t end with these arrests, as we will continue to devote significant investigative resources toward removing violent criminals from our neighborhoods, making them safer for law-abiding citizens.”

Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Augusta Office of the ATF, said, “ATF will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to stem the flow of firearms from legal commerce into the hands of convicted felons, violent criminal organizations or any person who has an intent to negatively impact the safety of our communities and neighborhoods.”

“The Secret Service was proud to partner with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, and other law enforcement agencies to indict a group of individuals who preyed on the citizens of Augusta,” said Kimberly A. Cheatle, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office.

“Through cooperation with local, state, and federal authorities we have been able to target violent offenders in South Augusta, an area that sees a significant amount of gun-related violent crime,” said Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Natalie Paine. “This cooperation is the first step in removing individuals who chronically use and carry guns illegally.”

Sheriff Richard Roundtree emphasized that the No. 1 goal of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is the reduction of violent crime. “These indictments/arrests are a testament to the hard-working deputies of the Sheriff’s Office along with their federal and state partners,” Roundtree said. “The Sheriff’s Office will continue to do everything possible to insure the safety/security of the Richmond County community and its citizens.”

A criminal indictment contains only charges. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Agencies participating in Operation 30906 include the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Secret Service, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) brings together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and, nationwide, serves as the centerpiece of crime reduction strategies developed by all U.S. Attorney’s Offices.

Jeremy Spencer grew up in rural South Georgia and has served as a healthcare provider, high school science teacher, school administrator, and state education official. Jeremy is currently the market and content manager for All on Georgia-Camden and Glynn Counties. Jeremy’s focus is local news, statewide education issues, and statewide political commentary for the All on Georgia News Network. Jeremy has served as an education policy analyst for local legislators and state education leaders as well as a campaign strategist for local and statewide political campaigns. Jeremy holds degrees in science and education from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and Valdosta State University. Jeremy has lived in Camden County for over 17 years.

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