DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Georgia

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Byung J. Pak
, United States Attorney
Contact: Public Information Office

Violent Felon Sentenced to 17 Years in Federal Prison for Cocaine Trafficking

ATLANTA – Darrick Lawrence, a previously convicted felon, has been sentenced to 16 years and six months in prison, with one month credit for time served, for trafficking cocaine. Lawrence also faces charges in Virginia for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.  A search of Lawrence’s Decatur, Georgia home resulted in the recovery of cocaine, two high-powered rifles, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

 

“Lawrence created a sophisticated drug operation and funneled drug proceeds through 18 different bank accounts using a shell company,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “This lengthy prison sentence removes a violent felon from our streets and places him in federal prison while he awaits prosecution for a murder in Virginia.”

 

“The criminal history of Lawrence shows a complete and utter disregard for the lives of others as well as for their personal pursuits,” said ATF Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Davis. “As an agency and a unified law enforcement community, we will not tolerate armed violent felons continually terrorizing and reducing the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

 

“Drug traffickers often protect the poisonous fruits of their labor by engaging in acts of violence,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division.  “The cache of weapons seized from this convicted felon validated his propensity towards violence. Because of the pinnacle of cooperation between DEA, its federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, this defendant is deserving of the sentence handed down today.”

 

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court:  On February 7, 2017, DeKalb County, Georgia, police officers and SWAT members executed a warrant to search Lawrence’s residence for evidence regarding a murder committed in Virginia. During the search, investigators recovered a stolen Anderson Manufacturing, model AM-15, .300 Blackout caliber rifle, an American Tactical, model Omni, 5.56mm caliber pistol, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and cocaine. At the time of the search, Lawrence was an eleven-time convicted felon, with prior convictions for robbery, assault, battery, and multiple violations of possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances. Investigators determined that Lawrence trafficked kilos of cocaine between Atlanta and Virginia.  He also created a shell company through which he funneled nearly a million dollars in drug proceeds using 18 banks accounts. Lawrence attempted to continue his drug trafficking operation while in federal and state prisons by directing members of his drug operation to communicate with him with prepaid “flip phones.”  

 

Darrick Lawrence, 39, of Decatur, Georgia, was sentenced 16 years and six months in prison, with one month credit for time served, to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones. He pleaded guilty to the offense of possession with intent to distribute cocaine on December 1, 2017. There is no parole in the federal system.

 

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the DeKalb Police Department, and the Henrico County Virginia Police Department.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dash A. Cooper and Kim S. Dammers prosecuted the case.

 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). In keeping with the Attorney General’s mission to reduce violent crime, the Northern District of Georgia’s PSN program focuses on prosecuting those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.

 

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov.

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Field Division: Atlanta Field Division