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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

July 19, 2010

Edward J. Tarver, United States Attorney

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

Southern District of Georgia Recognized at Annual Project Safe Neighborhoods Awards Ceremony

Operations Augusta Ink and Statesboro Blues Receive National Achievement Awards

SAVANNAH, GA — The Department of Justice last week announced the recipients of the annual Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Achievement Awards in a ceremony hosted by Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler at the PSN national conference in New Orleans. Recipients were chosen from a large pool of nominations submitted by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the nation. The Southern District of Georgia was the only District in the nation to receive multiple PSN Achievement Awards at the 2010 ceremony.

At its core, Project Safe Neighborhoods is built upon the commitment and personal integrity of individuals like those we honor … This year’s awards celebrate and highlight the work that has been done that has truly made a difference, said Acting Deputy Attorney General Grindler. Led by our U.S. Attorneys, federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement and prosecutors are on the frontlines on the streets of America every day. We thank you for your service, and honor your success.

The Southern District of Georgia’s 2010 PSN Achievement Award recipients were:

Operation Statesboro Blues

2010 PSN Achievement Award for Outstanding Gun Crime Investigation. 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.

Undercover agents purchased approximately 100 firearms and at least $300,000 worth of various drugs from over numerous individuals. 57 defendants all pleaded guilty to federal firearms trafficking, drug trafficking, Medicaid fraud, and other charges, receiving an average 7 year prison sentence.

Operations Statesboro Blues was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Cameron Ippolito and Frederick Kramer.

Operation Augusta Ink

2010 PSN Achievement Award for Outstanding Gang Investigation. For 16 months, beginning in 2006 and culminating in November 2007, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) Gang Task Force and the ATF conducted an undercover operation targeting local street gangs in the Augusta, Georgia area. Throughout the investigation, undercover officers and agents established contacts with members of several Augusta-area gangs including the Georgia Deadly Boys Gang aka 23’rd, Only with True Thugs aka O-Dub, Glen Hills Boys Gang, Uptown Boys/Farington Gangster Thugs and the Meadowbrook Clique. Undercover agents recovered during the investigation over 400 firearms, 1,000 grams of cocaine, 54 pounds of marijuana and 3 stolen cars, making it one of the most successful undercover operations in Richmond County history and the second largest operation of its kind in ATF history.

66 federal defendants were eventually charged and convicted of firearms, drug and other federal offenses. An additional 12 juveniles and 32 adults were charged by the State of Georgia.Operation Augusta Ink was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nancy Greenwood and Patricia Rhodes.

Commenting on the 2010 PSN awards received by the Southern District of Georgia, United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated, Our office is proud of the innovative and dedicated work of our award winners and all of our employees in the United States Attorney’s Office are proud to work alongside these dedicated individuals every day in the common goal of justice.

For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.