Major indictment targets Southeastern drug trafficking conspiracy

Operation Carpet Ride charges 32 defendants from Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico; 9 defendants from Evans County, 8 from Tattnall County

A newly unsealed federal indictment charges nearly three dozen defendants for their involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy centered in south Georgia and reaching into the Caribbean. Nine defendants are from Evans County and eight are from Tattnall County.

The primary conspiracy charge in USA v. Morales-Jimenez et. al, dubbed Operation Carpet Ride, carries a statutory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, up to life … Conviction on the charge also carries a minimum of five years of supervised release following any prison term, and there is no parole in the federal system.

“The painstaking investigation in Operation Carpet Ride spans nearly six years and thousands of miles as it tracked illegal drugs flowing into the United States to the Southern District of Georgia and beyond,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Our law enforcement partners have done outstanding work in identifying, investigating and disrupting this drug trafficking organization.”

Operation Carpet Ride, investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), identified drug trafficking operations in Bulloch, Burke, Candler, Effingham, Evans, Liberty, Richmond, and Tattnall counties, and elsewhere, from as early as January 2016. As described in the 49-count indictment, the conspiracy is alleged to have imported large quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs for distribution in the Southern District.

Each defendant in USA v. Morales-Jiminez et. al is charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute, and to Distribute, 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine; 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; 28 Grams or More of Crack Cocaine; Hydrocodone; Oxycodone; and Marijuana. Other individual charges in the indictment include drug possession and distribution, maintenance of a drug-involved premises, and illegal firearms possession and use.

…Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

To read the full article, including the names of the 32 defendants, pick up a copy of this week’s edition of The Claxton Enterprise. You can also subscribe to the paper by calling us at 912-739-2132 or set up your online account at www.claxtonenterprise.com.