Key figure in Laurens County drug trafficking conspiracy sentenced to federal prison
Operation ‘The Hole’ targeted meth, cocaine distribution
DUBLIN, GA (STL.News) A key figure in a Laurens County-area drug trafficking conspiracy has been sentenced to more than 20 years in federal prison.
Rodney Jarrod Denson, a/k/a “RD,” 45, of Dublin, Ga., was sentenced to 262 months in prison after pleading guilty Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Marijuana, and Conspiracy to Possess Firearms in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen also ordered Denson to pay a fine of $2,000 and to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
“This defendant, along with his co-conspirators, was a major distributor of illegal narcotics in the Laurens County area until our law enforcement partners infiltrated and dismantled their illicit operation,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “This sentence sends a clear message that we will be relentless in pursuing and removing those who spread poison in our communities.”
“By slamming the prison door on these illegal drug traffickers, we hope it sends a message to the citizens of Laurens County that we mean business in our pursuit of those who threaten the safety of our community,” said Larry Dean, Sheriff of Laurens County. “We appreciate the hard work and dedication of our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners in our fight to remove violent, drug-dealing criminals from our neighborhoods.”
Dubbed Operation “The Hole,” the investigation targeted a drug trafficking ring moving large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana into the Laurens County area as early as 2013. Coordinated by agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and the Ocmulgee Drug Task Force, the investigation in 2018 identified a shack in Montrose, Ga., called “The Hole” as the “trap house,” or central distribution site, complete with a retail-like service counter for drug transactions, along with other Dublin-area locations for drug distribution.
During the execution of multiple federal search warrants, agents seized significant quantities of narcotics, including pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana; 24 firearms, including assault-style guns with high-capacity magazines; nearly $37,000 in cash, gold, and silver with an estimated value of $90,000; devices for pressing bricks of cocaine; pill presses; a stolen vehicle; and two stolen generators with lights. Additional drugs, firearms, and cash also were discovered during arrests of the defendants.
Denson, a member of a street gang with a long record of felony convictions, was indicted on the federal charges in January 2020 along with seven codefendants – six of whom, like Denson, have since pled guilty to felony charges. Four of them have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 121 months, while two others await sentencing.
The final co-defendant, Quaveris Leshaun Mims, a/k/a “Strong,” 49, of Dublin, Ga., is awaiting trial and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
“Methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana, are dangerous drugs that pose a clear and present danger to the community,” said the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division Robert J. Murphy. “Because of the collective law enforcement effort, this poly-drug trafficker received a well-deserved prison sentence. This case is a shining example of what can be achieved when DEA and its law enforcement partners present a united front to protect our communities from the scourge of drug abuse.”
“Laurens County residents can take comfort in this sentence because it will keep this predatory gang member off their streets,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Denson and his co-conspirators were a plague in the community with their drugs, guns and violence that threatened the safety of the citizens who live there. Our commitment to dismantling these predatory gangs will never end.”
Operation “The Hole” was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.
Agencies involved in the investigation include the DEA; the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF); the FBI; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office; Ocmulgee Drug Task Force; the Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office; the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office; the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office; the Washington County Sheriff’s Office; the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office; and the Warner Robins Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia G. Rhodes and Henry W. Syms Jr.