36 indicted in bust of massive drug trafficking ring, feds say

2 from Jacksonville among 3 dozen charged in multi-state trafficking ring

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WAYCROSS, Ga. - Three dozen men and women, including two from Jacksonville, are facing charges in connection with a drug trafficking ring believed to have operated in Georgia and Florida, the Department of Justice announced Friday.

Two federal indictments were unsealed Thursday and Friday, charging 36 South Georgia, North Florida and California residents with conspiring to traffic large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs.

The indictments follow more than a year of undercover investigation by the FBI, the Waycross Police Department and the Ware County Sheriff’s Office.

The joint federal and state investigation into violent gang and drug trafficking activities in Ware, Pierce and Glynn counties turned up 44 guns, 10 kilos of cocaine ($1.03 million street value), four kilos of meth ($120,000 street value), several ounces of heroin ($28,000 street value), five pounds of marijuana ($25,000 street value) and $130,000 in cash.

The 36 people charged are:

  • Cedric L. King, 37, of Waycross (AKA “Ced” and “Sanchez”)
  • Carlos Ruelas, 35, Bakersfield, California
  • Giovanni Esquivel, 36, Bakersfield, California (AKA “Worm” and “Gio”)
  • Terraca Parker, 24, Jacksonville
  • Markey Pittman, 28, Jacksonville (AKA “Jap”)
  • Paul Dixon, 45, Waycross
  • Ben Dukes, 80, Waycross (AKA “Pops”)
  • Calvin Ivey, 61, Waycross (AKA “Tex”)
  • John Howard, 54, Waycross
  • Tarence Washington, 40, Waycross (AKA “T”)
  • Quanshard Dukes, 27, Waycross/Brunswick (AKA “Shad”)
  • Shampoire Orange, 35, Waycross (AKA “Po”)
  • Wilbur Hightower, 38, Waycross
  • Ishmil Strickland, 26, Blackshear (AKA “Ish” and “Convertible Ish”)
  • Stefan Williams, 33, Waycross
  • Myron Bolden, 36, Waycross/Homerville (AKA “Snap and “Snapp Paid”)
  • Corey Riggs, 32, Waycross
  • Elmo Robinson, 33, Waycross (AKA “Gutta Kolombo and “Macon MO”)
  • Esquadrick Williams, 35, Waycross (AKA “Lamon”)
  • Lashadre Smith, 26, Waycross (AKA “Shafa” and “Shaffa Billythekid Smith”)
  • Jason Cooper, 24, Waycross
  • Antwan Clark, 32, Waycross
  • Dustin Steedley, 31, Waycross
  • Tyler Council, 22, Blackshear
  • Christopher Wells, 29, Alma (AKA “Jugg”)
  • Phillip Johnson, 25, Waycross (AKA “Gunplay”)
  • Clarence Kelly, 29, Waycross (AKA “Buckshot”)
  • Randy Hawkins, 45, Waycross
  • Joshua Beverly, 28, Blackshear
  • Alvertis Geddis, 27, Waycross (AKA “Man Man” and “Draco”)
  • Ja'Lyn Kincey, 22, Waycross (AKA “Monk”)
  • Jerone Martin, 26, Waycross (AKA “Rome” and “Jermone”)
  • Zytrevis Robinson, 27, Waycross (AKA “Webbie”)
  • Ikeya Jones, 21, Waycross (AKA “Juvie Mona”)
  • Lakendra Norton, 28, Waycross
  • Tanya Johnson, 29, Blackshear

Most of those charged in the operation have been arrested and were brought Thursday and Friday before a federal magistrate judge sitting in Waycross for their initial appearances. State charges are pending for several other people because of the investigation. 

Esquadrick Williams, Quanshard Dukes, Jason Cooper, Antwan Clark, Giovanni Esquivel and Zytrevis Robinson are still being sought.

Anyone with information about the investigation or the location of any of the persons still being sought is asked to call the Glynn-Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team at 912-554-7550 or their local FBI office.

Many of the defendants face up to life in a federal prison if convicted, prosecutors said.

The indictments are only accusations and are not evidence of guilt, prosecutors pointed out. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Glynn County Police Department, the Brunswick Police Department, the Blackshear Police Department, the U.S. Marshal Service, the U.S. Probation Office and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision also assisted in the operation.

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