Two men were sentenced for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana as part of a drug trafficking organization operating outside a house near Chamblee Chartger High School in Chamblee, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office of the Northern District of Georgia.
Walter Ray Hamilton and James Robert Jones, a.k.a Sean Jones, were sentenced for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana for their roles in a drug trafficking organization that operated out of a house located approximately 350 feet from Chamblee Charter High School, in Chamblee, Georgia. The organization used the house in this residential neighborhood to distribute multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine and marijuana, according to the release.
Hamilton, 35, of Stone Mountain, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mark H. Cohen to six years, three months in prison to be followed by six years of supervised release for charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances, and maintaining a place for distributing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school. Hamilton was convicted on these charges on June 30, after he pleaded guilty.
Jones, 43, of Dallas, Georgia, was also sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cohen to five years, 10 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances. Jones was convicted on this charge on Aug. 1, after he pleaded guilty. Both Hamilton and Jones were sentenced on Nov. 2.
“This Atlanta-based organization brought the scourge of dangerous drugs to our community, and set up its base of operations down the street from a school,” said U. S. Attorney John Horn in a statement. “In doing so, they brought drug trafficking to the doorstep of what should have been a safe place for our children.”
“These cocaine and marijuana distributors were blinded by greed and power,” said Daniel R. Salter, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, in a statement.
“They also had the audacity to conduct their unlawful activities in close proximity to an educational facility, which cannot and will not be tolerated. Now, they stand powerless and will spend well-deserved time in prison. This case would not have been possible without the spirited level of cooperation between all law enforcement agencies involved,” Salter said.
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is charged with defending the nation’s mail system from illegal use. We remain steadfast in our resolve to seek justice to the end and to keep communities safe. This goal is achieved through collaborative investigative efforts with other law enforcement agencies,” added Thomas Noyes II, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division, in the release.
According to evidence, in June 2014, agents from the DEA and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, investigating a drug trafficking organization that shipped drugs through the mail from Texas to Atlanta, identified a house in Chamblee that the organization was using as a drug storage and distribution hub, states the press release.
Hamilton lived in the house and was frequently visited by other members of the organization, including Jones, who brought packages to the house. On two separate occasions following package deliveries, agents stopped cars leaving the house and seized multiple kilogram quantities of cocaine and marijuana, according to the press release.
On a third occasion, agents observed several organization members, including Hamilton and Jones, gather at the house and drive away together in a caravan of four cars, states the press release. Agents stopped the caravan, but Jones sped away in his car while agents pursued him with the help of aerial surveillance. Jones ultimately abandoned his car and was arrested after a brief foot chase.
Agents seized 55 kilograms of marijuana, cash, and other drug trafficking materials from the four cars, then returned to the house and seized an additional four kilograms of marijuana, scales, a money counter, and other drug packaging materials from inside.
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized approximately four kilograms of cocaine, six kilograms of methamphetamine, 75 kilograms of marijuana, seven handguns, a bullet proof vest, $65,200 in cash, and a stolen BMW with altered vehicle identification numbers.
Two other members of the organization have already been sentenced. They are as follows:
- Kevin Michael Johnson, 41, of Lilburn, Georgia, previously was sentenced to six years, six months in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances in connection with his role as leader of the organization. Johnson was convicted on January 5, 2016.
- Eric Swiney, 41, of Forest Park, Georgia, previously was sentenced to five years, ten months in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances in connection with his arrest with four kilograms of cocaine after leaving the organization’s house in Chamblee. Swiney was convicted on February 9, 2016.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and United States Postal Inspection Service, with invaluable support provided by the Georgia State Patrol. Assistant United States Attorney Garrett L. Bradford prosecuted the case.