The leader of a deadly fentanyl trafficking operation in Southeast Georgia will spend the next 22 years in federal prison.
Erik Hayes, 39, was the last of six defendants to be sentenced in federal court. Four of the six co-defendants are his relatives.
Federal prosecutors say all six people distributed dangerous drugs that led to multiple overdoses and deaths in Southeast Georgia.
Erik Hayes, also known as “Pee Wee,” was convicted of trafficking fentanyl with intent to sell. His older brother — 45-year-old Cyrlus Hayes, also known as “Dubo” — will spend the next 10 years in federal prison for distributing fentanyl and heroin. Their half-brother — 35-year-old Davey Green, also known as “Little Dave” — will spend the next four years in federal prison for distributing fentanyl. Their other half-brother — 35-year-old Renalba Green, also known as “Reno” — will spend the next two years in federal prison for setting up drug deals and drug trafficking. Crystal Champaign, 34, was sentenced to more than two years in prison for distributing fentanyl, and Preston Luke, 27, was given three years of probation for his part in the operation.
Investigators say all six were running a drug operation out of the greater Waycross area. But their distribution of illegal narcotics got the attention of law enforcement three years ago. That’s when multiple overdoses started happening because of heroin that was laced with fentanyl. Three of the overdose victims died.
Overdose deaths in Southeast Georgia were a big topic during a recent news briefing by both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.
“Illegal distribution of drugs is not a victimless crime. The grave markers of Elizabeth Cain, of LaGrange, Michael Logue, of Brunswick, and Dylan Jones, of Brunswick, bear silent witness to the toll that these illegal drugs flow into our communities and we are here to tell you today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners in Southeast Georgia are not going to tolerate it,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia David Estes.
Federal agents say they traced the 2020 overdoses back to these six people.
The investigation revealed that Eric Hayes was the leader of the operation and the supplier of the drugs that were distributed on the streets.