MONTGOMERY, Ala.- Wednesday morning, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, Clark Morris, announced that 26 suspected drug traffickers with East Alabama ties were arrested as part of a joint federal, state and local narcotics investigation.
The 18-month investigation, which spanned from Auburn to California yielded 13 arrests on federal narcotics and money laundering charges, and another 13 arrests on state narcotics charges.
Morris said this was probably the biggest take down they have had in years and added that all resources were used to make these arrests.
“Drug dealers to me, have the biggest ripple effect of any other crime,” Morris said. “Drug dealers not only affect themselves and their families, but the addicts and their families. That ripple effect then goes into ‘oh, I need my drugs, and I don’t have any money so I’m robbing people and stealing things.’ All of this increases the crime rate, and it creates addicts, which can ultimately create overdoses. Now, we’re talking about deaths. When you take 26 drug dealers off the streets, you are making a huge impact in a small community like Auburn or the Lee County area.”
A six-count federal indictment claims the following individuals conspired to possess with intent to distribute or did distribute a variety of drugs including: cocaine, marijuana, Xanax and methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA/ecstacy). Along with the drug charges, the indictment alleges four of the defendants committed money laundering.
- Alfred Lorenzo Cole- 36 years old, Santa Rosa, California
- Sakeya Monique Donaldson- 38 years old, Atlanta, Georgia
- Leanne Grimmett- 31 years old, Auburn, Alabama
- Jermichael Lamar Hart, 31 years old, Auburn, Alabama
- Worldly Dieago Holstick- 35 years old, Auburn, Alabama
- Mackenzie Leigh Keith- 23 years old, Auburn, Alabama
- Tyesha Lanise Lockhart- 20 years old, Auburn, Alabama
- John Willie Maddox Jr., -27 years old, Auburn, Alabama
- Marquis Lanez Miller- 36 years old, Auburn, Alabama
- Timothy Lamar Spinks- 42 years old, Auburn, Alabama
- Erin Kristen Turner- 23 years old, Auburn, Alabama
- Latesha Lashun Williams- 30 years old, Auburn, Alabama
- Lester Stephen Young- 34 years old, Auburn, Alabama
On the conspiracy count, Holstick, Miller, Maddox, Cole, Lockhart, Turner Donaldson, Young, Spinks and Hart are facing no less than five years in prison and not more than 40 years and a fine of no more than $5 million.
On the money laundering conspiracy, Holstick, Turner, Cole and Grimmett face no more than 20 years in prison and are subject to a fine of no more than $500,000.
Maddox, Williams, Keith and Miller face no more than 20 years in prison for distributing charges and are subject to a fine of no more than $1 million.
The remaining 13 face state charges of criminal conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime:
- Shedrick Taryl Cannon- Notasulga, Alabama
- Travis Lamar Dowdell- Auburn, Alabama
- Carlton Antonio Goodman Jr.,- Dadeville, Alabama
- Blakely Elizabeth Kilgore- Huntsville, Alabama
- Samson Jermon Logan- Auburn, Alabama
- Keuntae Rajhun Mabson- Tuskegee, Alabama
- Adam Lee McPheeters- Auburn, Alabama
- Antonio Jermaine Mitchell- Opelika, Alabama
- Eric Kendall Smith- Auburn, Alabama
- Alexander White Jr.,- Thomasville, Alabama
- Caleb Andrew Whitworth- Notasulga, Alabama
Eric Lamar Kellum of Opelika faces a distribution of controlled substance charge, and Quentin Eugene Turner of Auburn faces a possession of controlled substance, marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges.
“I hear a lot about drugs being a victim-less crime,” Lee County DA Brandon Hughes said. “Well, not only do drugs wreck individuals, or they wreck families, but they bring in guns and gun crimes to our community. What yesterday was about was removing that garbage from our streets, and yesterday was trash day.”
The arrests started early Wednesday morning, and went into the evening.
“Quite a number of weapons were encountered when making the arrests; everything from Ar-15’s, 44-magnum handgun and various handguns and long guns were encountered with the defendants when they were arrested,” Bret Hamilton, Asst. Special Agent in Charge with the DEA said. “We were extremely fortunate that no one was injured, especially the defendants, which is a testament to the professionalism of the agents and the officers conducting these arrests.”
The investigation started 18 months ago when the Auburn Police Division met with the DEA about concerns of drugs in the community, and as a result, they became involved in the investigation with the DEA and other agencies. Throughout the 18 months, it was estimated that millions of dollars were funneled through numerous bank accounts.
“Everyone in our community is affected in some way or another by drugs, whether that be those who have lost a family member or loved one because of drugs or even those affected by the crimes associated with it like burglary, theft and robbery,” Auburn Police Chief Paul Register said. “We’re very excited today about the result of this case and the work of everyone involved. The community of Auburn and Lee County area will be helped in this regard.”
“Today is a reflection of an awful lot of people who came together with a common purpose, and that is to make sure we hold individuals accountable who choose to engage in this conduct,” Alabama Attorney General Steven Marshall said.
“If you’re in Opelika, Lee County, Auburn area and you’re in the drug business, you may want to find somewhere else to go, but be aware that we’ll probably find you there too,” Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Hal Taylor said.
The cases are being investigated by these agencies: DEA- Montgomery Resident Office, Auburn Police Division, Eufaula Police Department, Prattville Police Department, Alabama Attorney General’s Office, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Alabama HIDTA Task Force, Alabama National Guard, Autauga County Sheriff’s Office, Central Alabama Drug Task Force, Elmore County Sheriff’s Office, Millbrook Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Montgomery Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County District Attorney’s Office, Opelika Police Department, Troy Police Department and the United States Marshals.
Assistant United States Attorneys Verne Speirs and John Geer are prosecuting the federal case, while the Lee County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the state case.
Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.