ALBANY, Ga. – The ring-leader of an illicit drug operation that reached into communities across middle and south Georgia was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison Monday, announced Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. 

U.S. District Judge Leslie Gardner sentenced Ricardo Bodiford, aka “Rico,” 34, of Moultrie, Georgia, to 260 months in prison after Bodiford pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. 

Bodiford’s indictment, filed in July 2018, lists a total of 23 defendants (including Bodiford) charged with various drug crimes related to the illegal drug operation. All 23 defendants have entered guilty pleas for their crimes, according to Peeler’s office, and all 23 defendants are expected to be sentenced this month. 

Also on Monday, co-defendant David Spradley, aka “ManMan,” 37, of Moultrie, was sentenced to 218 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Co-defendants Johntavious Johnson, aka “Mikey,” 33, and co-defendant Jarvis West, 32, both of Moultrie, were each sentenced to 96 months in prison after pleading guilty to one county conspiracy with intent to distribute methamphetamine. There is no parole in the federal system.

Investigators began a court-authorized wiretap on Bodiford’s cell phones on April 9, 2018. Within two days, agents determined that Spradley worked closely with Bodiford in obtaining various controlled substances from two sources. The wiretap investigation continued until law enforcement agents executed search warrants on several locations across Moultrie from May 7-8, 2019, locating large amounts of illicit drugs, including two pounds of methamphetamine, one kilogram of cocaine, 13 pounds of marijuana, loaded firearms and cash, among other amounts of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. 

The case was investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office, the Moultrie Police Department and the Leon County Florida Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah E. McEwen is prosecuting the case for the government. 

“Agencies at the federal, state and local level worked seamlessly to shut down a major drug operation that was infecting communities across our district,” Peeler said. “Our office is committed to fighting the rise of meth throughout Georgia. As reflected by these strong sentences, anyone who chooses to deal illicit drugs will face severe consequences. I want to thank our law enforcement partners for their excellent work.”

“Today’s sentencing illustrates the seriousness that comes when drug traffickers distribute large volumes of poison to the community, as was the case in this investigation. This defendant’s lengthy prison sentence appropriately fits the high level of criminal activity he was engaged in,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “The investigation of this case was a success because of the unified efforts between DEA, its law enforcement partners and the subsequent prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.” 

“This sentencing illustrates that drug trafficking at any level will not be tolerated in the state of Georgia. It is paramount that violators of drug laws be held accountable. The GBI is fully committed to working with our local and federal partners in drug enforcement to address these types of crimes,” said Vic Reynolds, director of the GBI.

“We are very appreciative of the support of our federal partners. These criminals have been causing havoc in our community for a long time. The only way to meaningfully curb drug-related crime of this magnitude in the Moultrie area is with the assistance of the federal government,” said Sheriff Rod Howell, Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office.

“The individuals prosecuted in this case all have extensive criminal histories and have committed multiple criminal offenses within our community. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all the agencies that were involved, especially to our state and federal partners. Successful drug enforcement practices must be a coordinated effort within the purview of all law enforcement agencies, and this case is an outstanding example of that. Colquitt County and the City of Moultrie are safer because Mr. Bodiford and Mr. Spradley, along with their co-conspirators, are off the streets,” said Chief Sean Ladson, Moultrie Police Department.

On July 11, 2018, a Federal Grand Jury sitting in Macon, Georgia returned an indictment charging 23 individuals in this case. You can find the press release with details about the indictment and the charged individuals at https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdga/pr/federal-grand-jury-indictment-charging-23-individuals-unsealed.

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