DOERUN, Ga. (WALB) - A Doerun man has been sentenced to federal prison after being found guilty of trafficking methamphetamine in Meigs and Adel, according to Peter Leary, the acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
On Wednesday, Samuel Matthew “Cruz” Howard, 27, of Doerun, was sentenced after an August 2020 bench trial where he was found guilty of two counts of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.
“The defendant brazenly continued pushing large quantities of methamphetamine into Southwest Georgia communities, even following his first arrest. Howard’s repeat criminal actions have resulted in a lengthy federal prison sentence,” said Leary. “I want to commend the Thomas County-Thomasville Narcotics/Vice Division and the DEA for their excellent investigative work in this case and helping bring this repeat offender to justice.”
According to a press release from Leary’s office, Howard was taken into custody on two separate occasions for attempting to distribute large quantities of meth.
The first incident occurred on October 11, 2016. The release explains that a Thomas County-Thomasville Narcotics/Vice Division agent received information from a confidential source (CS) who claimed a male known as “Cruz” would be delivering a large quantity of meth to someone at a residence on North Church Street in Meigs within the hour. Agents, conducting surveillance, said they saw Howard drive up to the residence in a blue Buick. The agents then approached Howard and during a legal search of Howard’s vehicle, they found three plastic sandwich bags containing 85.2 grams of 99 percent pure “ice” methamphetamine inside the center console armrest, a gray zip pouch containing numerous empty plastic sandwich bags, a digital scale and $1,819 under the armrest. A search warrant of Howard’s cell phone revealed numerous text messages to and from Howard discussing drug transactions and prices right up to the hour of his arrest.
“As drug dealers prey on communities, they often ignore county or state lines. It’s great to have the cooperation of all state and federal agencies to aid in the arrest and prosecution of these drug traffickers. Hopefully, Mr. Howard’s arrest and incarceration will be a deterrent to current and/or future drug traffickers,” said Lt. Commander Louis Schofill with the Thomas County-Thomasville Narcotics/Vice Division.
The press release says the second incident occurred on April 26, 2018, when Howard was arrested in possession of approximately 222.3 grams of meth. This time, a CS contacted Howard via text message to arrange the purchase of methamphetamine from Howard at a McDonald’s in Adel. Howard was taken into custody at the McDonald’s in possession of a box with “Gucci” written on it, containing 222.3 grams of methamphetamine, found inside his blue Buick. The defendant has a criminal history and was previously convicted of theft by taking in Colquitt County Superior Court.
“This ‘meth’ trafficker, who happens to be a repeat offender, was ultimately sentenced because of DEA’s commitment to remove dangerous drugs from our streets to protect our communities,” said Robert J. Murphy, the special agent in charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “Mr. Cruz will now spend well-deserved time in prison, and his apprehension makes the Southwest Georgia community a safer place today.”
Following Howard’s August conviction by U.S. District Judge Louis Sands, he was sentenced Wednesday by Sands to 14 years in federal prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.