Leader of Multi-State Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison
“Operation Georgia Peach”
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 14, 2010|
COLUMBUS, OH—Maurice L. Williams, aka “Papa Joe”, 35, of Columbus, Ohio and Decatur, Georgia, was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 30 years in prison for leading a drug trafficking network responsible for distributing hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana throughout a multi-state region over a 10-year period.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Keith L. Bennett, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Field Division, Columbus Police Chief Walter Distelzweig, Franklin County Sheriff Jim Karnes, Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray and Delaware County Sheriff Walter Davis announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.
A jury convicted Williams on April 1, 2010 of one count of operating a continuing criminal enterprise. Williams was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for that crime. During the trial, one witness testified that Williams’ organization brought in at least 10 truckloads of cocaine from Houston, Texas during one year and that each load contained at least 20 kilograms of cocaine.
Williams was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime, which will be served consecutive to his prison time for the continuing criminal enterprise. He was also sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on each of 26 counts of use of a telephone in the commission of a felony. Those sentences were ordered to be served concurrent to the other sentences. Judge Sargus also ordered him to forfeit cash, vehicles and firearms seized during the investigation.
On February 26, 2009, teams of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents began arresting 29 people charged for their roles in the operation. The arrests capped a year-long investigation by the FBI, Columbus Police, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI). Williams remained a fugitive until FBI agents arrested him in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 14, 2009.
All others charged as part of the investigation have pled guilty to crimes for their role in the drug trafficking organization. Many of the co-defendants testified during Williams’ trial.
Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by the officers with the Columbus Police Strategic Response Bureau, the Delaware County Drug Task Force, and agents participating in the FBI Task Force.