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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Southern District of Mississippi

For Immediate Release

August 22, 2013

Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney

CONTACT: Sheila Wilbanks
PHONE: (601) 965-4480
FAX: (601) 965-4409

Scott County Men Sentenced on Drug Charges

Jackson, Miss — Herbert Jerome Townsend, of Forest, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 32 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis, Special Agent in Charge Phillip Durham with the Bureau of ATF, Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New Orleans, and Director Marshall Fisher with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. Townsend was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $11,500.

Also sentenced today was Townsend’s co–defendant, George Johnson, of Lake, Mississippi. He was sentenced to four years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,000.

In 2005, agents began to receive information about a drug trafficking organization in the Brusha Community of Scott County that was distributing large amounts of Marijuana, Cocaine and Methamphetamine. The investigation revealed that from the period of 2006 through late 2012, over 2 kilograms of methamphetamine with a purity over 90%, multiple kilograms of marijuana and cocaine were being imported from Mexico, California and Texas for distribution in the Brusha Community. In October of 2012, 15 defendants were arrested on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over 50 grams of Methamphetamine. The charges were contained in two indictments. During the course of the investigation, over 3 kilograms of methamphetamine with a purity of over 90% was seized, along with approximately 20 firearms and over $15,000 in U.S. Currency. Herbert Jerome Townsend, a/k/a Smurf, was the leader of this drug trafficking organization.

Several of the defendants in this case have already received lengthy prison terms and others have pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing. They each face a minimum penalty of ten years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.

"The federal, state, and local law enforcement agents who worked this case went above and beyond the call of duty to help dismantle this large drug trafficking organization based in Scott County. We will continue to work together to put an end to narcotics trafficking in our neighborhoods and communities," said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis.

Phillip Durham, ATF Special Agent in Charge said, "This joint investigation between ATF and our other law enforcement partners illustrates the impact on violent crime when agencies combine and coordinate their skills and resources. This investigation is an example of excellent team work a job well done." "Methamphetamine is a cancer on countless communities that drug traffickers exploit without any regard for the violence and damage they leave in their wake," said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer Jr. "The ongoing partnership between federal and state officials to identify and bring these criminals to justice is one of our most important priorities." Parmer oversees a five–state area of responsibility including Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.

"This case is an example of what can be accomplished when agencies share information and work together toward a common goal. We appreciate the efforts of all agencies involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case," said Marshall Fisher, Director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, with assistance from the Forest Police Department, Scott County Sheriff’s Department, Mississippi Highway Patrol and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin O. Chalk prosecuted the case.