ALBANY, Ga. — The final member of a Moultrie, Georgia, methamphetamine trafficking network pleaded guilty to a federal drug distribution charge this week.
Robert Lee Smith, III, 46, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine before U.S. District Judge Leslie Gardner on March 17, and faces a minimum of five years up to a maximum of 40 years in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release and a maximum $5,000,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 21.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“Methamphetamine is a plague on our communities; it is especially disturbing when we find drug trafficking organizations directed by incarcerated individuals, as seen in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Collaborating with our law enforcement partners at every level, our office will hold repeat offenders accountable for continually disregarding the law and damaging our communities.”
According to court documents, GBI began investigating a drug distribution conspiracy in Colquitt and Brooks Counties in Nov. 2020, initially based on information that co-defendant April Contreras was selling methamphetamine in the region.
During the course of the investigation, agents discovered that Robert Smith, who was incarcerated at the Colquitt County Jail, was working with Contreras and co-defendants Aubrey Thompson and Corey Haynes in the sale of controlled substances. Co-defendant Melissa Barrow, working under the direction of Contreras, sold methamphetamine to a confidential informant (CI).
Co-defendant Roderick Smith was directed by Robert Smith to provide cash to Contreras for the purposes of methamphetamine trafficking.
Robert Smith is accountable for the distribution of between 1.5 kilograms and four kilograms of methamphetamine.
Robert Smith has a lengthy criminal history including convictions for aggravated assault and drug distribution.
The following co-defendants have entered guilty pleas and are awaiting sentencing:
April Contreras, 31, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine on March 10;
Melissa Barrow, 48, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to distribution of methamphetamine on Dec. 22, 2021;
Corey Haynes, 42, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine on Feb. 2; and,
Roderick Smith, 40, of Moultrie, pleaded guilty to use of a communication facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on March 3.
The following co-defendant entered a guilty plea and was sentenced:
Aubrey Thompson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine on Dec. 7, 2021. Thompson was sentenced to 96 months imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release.
The case was investigated by DEA, FBI, GBI, Georgia State Patrol, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office and Moultrie Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melody Ellis is prosecuting the case.