A Georgia man with an extensive felony record will spend more than six years in federal prison for his admitted drug courier activities from California to Georgia.
The cocaine ‘mule’, Devin Renard Dabney, age 40 of Atlanta, was sentenced to 81 months in federal prison on Friday by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr.
Dabney pleaded guilty to one count of possession of 500 grams or more of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. Dabney will also spend four years on supervised release after his incarceration. There is no parole in the federal system.
Dabney is one of 20 defendants in an extensive drug trafficking organization. Dabney, known as the “Savannah mule”, worked as a drug courier in the network that spanned from California to Savannah.
As outlined in court records and in various hearings, marijuana sales were used to finance cocaine purchases, with cash proceeds hidden in candy machines and shipped to hubs in Atlanta and California.
Co-conspirators in those areas shipped pounds of marijuana and kilograms of cocaine to Savannah via U.S. Mail and in vehicles with hidden compartments.
As part of his plea, Dabney confessed that he was one of the main cocaine “mules” of the conspiracy. He frequently drove to locations in the Atlanta area to pick up cocaine and transported packages back to Savannah before returning to Atlanta with thousands of dollars in cash.
During the investigation, agents caught Dabney on court-authorized wiretaps and seized over 1.5 kilograms of cocaine that was attached with magnets and hidden in the rear fender wells of a vehicle he was driving from Atlanta to Savannah.
According to investigative records, Dabney was in phone contact with several co-conspirators, including Karteau Jenkins, who is alleged to be the main supplier of the cocaine for the drug trafficking organization.
Jenkins is alleged to have coordinated with Eugene “Poncho” Allen, who is alleged to be a ringleader of the drug trafficking organization despite currently serving a life sentence for murder in a Georgia state prison. Allen is alleged to have run his organization using smuggled contraband phones.
Allegations and charges presume the defendants are innocent unless and until proven guilty.
“Clint Eastwood visited Georgia this year to film ‘The Mule,’ a movie based on a real-life drug courier. And just as the movie’s slogan says, ‘Nobody runs forever,’” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “Drug traffickers deliver destruction to our communities, and our office is determined to flip the script on these merchants of misery and put them behind bars.”
In August 2017, a federal grand jury charged 20 defendants with drug trafficking offenses related to this investigation; most of them have pled guilty. Agents seized eight firearms, more than 200 pounds of marijuana, multiple kilograms of cocaine, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in that specific investigation.
“For a large-scale operation to be successful, it takes many people who all work at different levels,” said Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team Director Everett Ragan. “The same can be said regarding large-scale drug operations. Oftentimes, people are recruited into drug operation roles with a false promise to make easy money with limited liability. This is an excellent example of how that is not true, and hopefully will serve as a reminder that all members of a drug operation will be held accountable.”
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and assisted by Chatham County Narcotics Unit, Savannah Police Department, Chatham and Effingham County Police Departments, United States Postal Service Inspectors, and U.S. Marshals along with other multi-jurisdictional task forces.
Movie trailer of “The Mule” – about the drug trafficking.