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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Georgia
Jill E. Steinberg, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Cocaine Trafficker Sentenced to Two Decades in Federal Prison

STATESBORO, Ga. — An Evans County man has been sentenced to two decades in federal prison for distributing cocaine as part of a major drug trafficking network.

Tony Deshawn Slater, 52, of Claxton, was sentenced to 240 months in prison after pleading guilty to Distribution of Cocaine, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall also fined Slater $2,500 and ordered him to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

“We’re gratified at the number of law enforcement agencies from such a large geographic area coordinating their efforts to identify and disrupt this major drug distribution network,” said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. “Together we will continue to hold accountable those who endanger our communities by distributing illegal drugs.”

Slater was one of 32 defendants named in the November 2022 indictment in USA v. Morales-Jimenez et al., the culmination of an investigation dubbed Operation Carpet Ride. The investigation identified drug trafficking operations spanning Bulloch, Burke, Candler, Effingham, Evans, Liberty, Richmond and Tattnall counties and elsewhere, from as early as January 2016. The conspiracy is alleged to have imported large quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs from Mexico and the Caribbean for distribution in the Southern District.

Slater, with multiple prior convictions for distributing and possessing cocaine and other drugs, pled guilty in May to Distribution of Cocaine. The investigation also revealed that Slater possessed firearms and maintained a premises for purposes of distributing a controlled substance. About half of the defendants in Operation Carpet Ride have been sentenced after pleading guilty to charges related to the conspiracy, while the remaining defendants await further legal action. 

The case was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF). OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; United States Customs and Border Protection; Homeland Security Investigations; the Georgia Bureau of Investigation; The Savannah Chatham Narcotics Team; the Puerto Rico State Police; the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles; the Georgia Department of Community Supervision; the Tattnall County Sheriff’s Office; the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office; the Evans County Sheriff’s Office; Liberty County Sheriff’s Office; the Barceloneta Police Department; the Claxton Police Department; Statesboro Police; and the Glennville Police Department; and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank M. Pennington II and OCDETF Coordinator Marcela C. Mateo.


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