The Police NewsAthens, GA
68 Defendants Indicted in "Operation Wu Block" Meth, Heroin Investigation
More indictments anticipated in coming months
ATHENS, Ga. – An ongoing, large scale drug trafficking investigation dubbed “Operation Wu Block” has yielded criminal charges for 68 individuals and the seizure of kilos of methamphetamine and heroin, with more indictments expected in the coming months, said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
The two-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Macon Resident Office, FBI Middle Georgia Safe Streets Gang Task Force, Athens-Clarke County Police Department, Clarke County Sheriff's Office, Hart County Sheriff’s Office, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Department of Corrections and Northeast Regional Drug Task Force in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia. These agencies continue to target large scale drug trafficking organizations operating in northeast Georgia and throughout the State of Georgia.
The investigation has resulted in the seizure of more than 58 kilograms of methamphetamine, more than two kilograms of heroin, 31 firearms, and $56,000, as well as multiple indictments covering 68 defendants. Charges brought thus far include conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, distribution of controlled substances, and firearm possession, with penalties ranging from five years up to life in prison, depending on the charge.
“Law enforcement in Georgia are aggressively working to find and arrest individuals distributing dangerous drugs in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “This investigation is a textbook example of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies working together in the Middle District of Georgia to stem the flow of illegal narcotics and the severe damage they cause within our communities. Drug traffickers beware: law enforcement will find you, and you will be prosecuted.”
“Drug traffickers ultimately bring misery and destruction to our communities,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “DEA and its law enforcement partners take an oath to protect and serve those communities by removing dangerous criminals from the streets. The collection of law enforcement agencies and the subsequent prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office allowed DEA to mount an aggressive assault against a well-established methamphetamine distribution network.”
“The removal of drugs, guns and money and 68 defendants from our streets will have an immediate impact on the safety of our citizens, thanks to a two-year cooperative effort with our federal, state and local partners,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “This case is another example of the commitment to dismantle organizations that wreak havoc in our communities and endanger the people who live in them.”
19 federal indictments have been returned by federal grand juries with a total of 68 defendants criminally charged in the Middle District of Georgia. Some of the charges include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine with a maximum sentence of life in prison; conspiracy with intent to distribute heroin with a maximum sentence of 40 years imprisonment; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine or heroin with sentences ranging from a maximum twenty years to life in prison; distribution of methamphetamine or heroin with sentences ranging from twenty years to life in prison, depending on the amount of controlled substances charged; possession of a firearm in relation to drug trafficking with a maximum sentence of life in prison. An indictment is only an allegation of criminal conduct, and all of the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendants are as follows (last name, first name):
“Operation Wu Block,” an OCDETF-led investigation, is part of the larger “Operation Crystal Shield,” a national DEA operation first announced on February 20, 2020 during a press conference in Atlanta. The investigation is focused on eight main methamphetamine trafficking transportation hubs across the nation, including Atlanta. Both are on-going operations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara Jarrett is prosecuting cases arising from this investigation for the Government. Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.