Plea in Toombs Drug Cartel Case
Thursday, 24 June 2010

June 24--  WILLIAM LEWIS CONEY, JR., from Toombs County, Georgia, and four other defendants pled guilty yesterday to drug trafficking charges before United States Senior District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield.  Coney was one of 32 defendants charged and convicted in two related Indictments involving a major drug trafficking organization operating in Toombs and Candler Counties, and in Atlanta. 

            According to evidence presented during the guilty plea hearings, the convicted defendants conspired to distribute over one thousand pounds of cocaine (in both the “crack” and “powder” forms), methamphetamine, marijuana, and Ecstasy.  Two of the defendants, CATHY RENEA MCCLENDON and KEVIN MORANT were employed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the Atlanta Airport while committing these offenses.  Cash, vehicles, and real property totaling over $200,000 was seized and forfeited by the United States as part of the investigation.

In addition to CONEY, MCCLENDON and MORANT, other defendants convicted as part of Operation Toombstoned included:

                        LAWRENCE HUGH MCCULLOUGH, JR.,

                        LAWRENCE HUGH MCCULLOUGH, SR.,

                        ALEX ASHLEY,

                        KENDALL DEWAYNE CORBETT, 

                        RODGIE LINTAE ELLIS,

                        RONDAE LEWIS BYRD,

                        QUINTON ANTONIO RHYMES,

                        RHETT MATTHEW SIKES,

                        JOHNATHAN SCOTT MANN,

                        THENELLE JAMIESE FAISON,

                        MICHAEL SCOTT THOMAS,

                        ANGELA GUSONIA LITTLES,

                        SHAMEKA RENEA HOWARD, 

                        LEE ANTONIO POLKE,

                        ROBERT DAVID ROCK,

                        FRANK JAMAL CURRY,

                        RYAN CHRISTOPHER MANNING,

                        JOHN CLIFTON MORRIS, 

                        RICHARD CURRY ANDERSON,

                        JASON TIMMONS

                        ANTHONY DEWAYNE KNIGHT

                        SEAN MICHAEL TOMPKINS,

                        WILLIE LONNELL OUTLER 

                        COREY ANDRAKE WARNER,

                        TOMMY LEWIS DENSON JR.,

                        MICHAEL PAUL SANDERS

                        GENARO BARRIENTOS

                        ALEJANDRO AGUILAR-RAMIREZ, and

                        CHARLIE MARION PHILLIPS.  

Defendant JULIO NICOLAS, also named in an indictment, remains a fugitive.

The defendants will be sentenced in approximately 60 days, with potential penalties of up to 20 years in prison, millions of dollars in fines, and periods of supervised release after release from imprisonment

United States Attorney Edward Tarver stated, “Federal and state law enforcement cooperation has resulted in the complete disruption of a major drug trafficking organization, and the incarceration of a number of dangerous criminals, many of whom have substantial criminal records involving drug trafficking and violence."

            The prosecution resulted from a lengthy investigation dubbed “Operation Toombstoned.” The investigation was conducted by the United States Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, including the DEA, the FBI, the GBI, the East Central Georgia  Drug Task Force, the Toombs County Sheriff’s Office, the Vidalia Police Department, the Lyons Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, the Transportation Security Administration, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.  The lead agents investigating the case were DEA Special Agent Robert Livingston and DEA Task Force Agent Kevin Waters.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Darrin L. McCullough of Savannah.


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