Inmate oversees meth operation behind bars

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2021 | Drug Possession

Criminal courts in Georgia often take a no-nonsense approach to drug crimes. And some of the most serious penalties occur when courts find defendants guilty of possessing, manufacturing, or distributing methamphetamine. The flow of these illicit substances continues throughout the state despite the efforts of lawmakers. Officials recently discovered one defendant maintained a methamphetamine operation after already incarcerated for a previous drug offense.

Case background

A 33-year-old inmate in Georgia confessed to a federal prosecutor that he continued to organize methamphetamine sales from prison. He was able to continue his criminal behavior while serving a 25-year sentence for previous drug crime convictions.

Prosecutors say the defendant distributed “significant methamphetamine quantities” in the Atlanta metro area using a cellphone smuggled into the correctional facility housing him. The defendant directed an associate to deliver drugs to a customer calling him on the cellphone to arrange a purchase. The defendant was unaware the caller was working as a police informant. The associate delivering the drugs also faced arrest, and a search of the hotel room he used revealed a quantity of methamphetamine, two ounces of heroin, and a firearm.

Methamphetamine penalties

Methamphetamine possession in Georgia is a felony offense that can land offenders in prison from two to 15 years. Maximum penalties can increase to 30 years in prison for repeat offenders.

Individuals that sell methamphetamine for profit in the state face harsher sentences. A sale of fewer than 28 grams of methamphetamine can cost the offender five to 30 years in prison. A minimum of 10 years is possible for individuals convicted of selling less than 28 grams of methamphetamine more than once. Forty years is the maximum prison term for repeat offenders.

Trafficking charges apply for methamphetamine sales of more than 28 grams. These charges come with a mandatory minimum of 10 years for first offenders and 15 years for second and subsequent offenses.

Individuals accused of drug charges face serious consequences. But defendants need to remember accusations do not always equal a conviction.