ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

June 17, 2010

Edward J. Tarver, United States Attorney

Contact: James D. Durham
First Assistant United States Attorney
(912) 201-2547

Last of 57 Defendants Sentenced on Federal Charges Arising From Undercover Investigation

STATESBORO, GA — MICHAEL HENDRIX, 33, from Statesboro, Georgia, was sentenced on Tuesday by Senior Judge B. Avant Edenfield to 8 years in prison and 6 years of supervised release on his cocaine and prescription drug trafficking conviction. HENDRIX’s sentencing marked the end of Operation “Statesboro Blues,” an undercover operation that netted the convictions of 57 defendants on firearm, drug and other federal crimes.

United States Attorney Edward Tarver stated, Operation Statesboro Blues was an innovative effort to remove illegal guns, narcotics, gang members and repeat offenders from the streets of Statesboro, Georgia. It succeeded in doing just that. Armed robberies, gang activity and other violent crimes have dropped in the Statesboro area. This operation is a shining example of federal and local law enforcement working together to help eradicate violent crime in our district.

The Statesboro Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) initiated Operation Statesboro Blues in the summer of 2008. Undercover agents posed as members of the community who were interested in making illegal firearms and drug purchases from the criminal element. Creative, innovative techniques enhanced agents’ ability to gain criminals’ loyalty. Agents purchased at least 96 firearms and at least $300,000 worth of various drugs from over 100 individuals.

All 57 defendants pleaded guilty to firearms trafficking, drug trafficking, Medicaid fraud, and other charges, receiving an average 7 year prison sentence. Seizures in the operation included 600 grams of cocaine powder, 250 grams of methamphetamine, 1158 pills of ecstasy, 625 grams of crack cocaine, a gallon of GHB, 901 pills of oxycontin, and over 2600 pills of other pharmaceuticals. Of the firearms purchased or seized, 22 were stolen and five were sawed-off shotguns and rifles. Two vehicles, including a 2009 Cadillac Escalade, and $11,000 in cash were forfeited to the government.

The Government was represented in these prosecutions by Assistant United States Attorneys Cameron Heaps Ippolito and Frederick W. Kramer III. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

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