THOMASVILLE -- Federal Judge Clay D. Land sentenced four of nine members of the largest drug operation in Colquitt CountyFriday.

Three pled guilty in the fall to distributing crack cocaine. Jimmie D. Merritt, also known as "Q-Ball," 28, was sentenced to six years and three months plus five years supervised probation. Brian Paige, also known as "Peanut," was sentenced to four years and two months plus five years probation. Trevino A. Jordan, 34, was sentenced to two and a half years plus five years probation, investigators said.

Tammy Bonner, 29, also of Moultrie, was sentenced to five years probation for superseding information, meaning she used a telephone to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine.

The convicted drug dealers will be incarcerated in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and will not be offered parole but they may shave a few days off for good behavior, federal officials said.

The other five defendants, who all made plea bargains, will be sentenced later, court officials said.

Roderick Eric Hawkins, thought by law enforcement to be the head of one of the largest street drug operations in South Georgia, pled guilty to cocaine distribution and money laundering charges Dec. 30 in federal court in Columbus.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency busted Hawkins, 31, also known as "E," "Enemy" and "Hawk," and eight members of his organization -- thought to employ 30 to 50 people -- in August, investigators said. All nine subsequently pled guilty.

The charges resulted from years of investigation by the Colquitt County Drug Enforcement Team, the Columbus DEA office, the Albany Federal Bureau of Investigation office, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.



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