Convicted gang member sentenced in federal SWGA prison drug trafficking ring
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WALB) - A man serving a life sentence in state prison for murder was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for operating a drug trafficking organization while incarcerated, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Eugene Allen, aka “Poncho,” 44, was sentenced to 360 months in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, according to David Estes, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
Allen was convicted by a U.S. District Court jury in August 2019. After finishing his prison term, Allen will serve eight years of supervised release.
“Using contraband cell phones to circumvent prison monitoring of his conspiracy, Eugene Allen directed nearly two dozen others outside the prison to bring large amounts of drugs to the Savannah area for distribution throughout the region,” Estes said. “Our diligent law enforcement partners shut down this poison distribution network, and Allen is the final member of this conspiracy to now find himself in federal prison.”
According to Department of Justice court documents and testimony, Allen is a high-ranking member of the Gangster Disciples criminal street gang.
He has been in state prison since 2004 after violating parole on a prior state conviction. In 2006, the Department of Justice said he was convicted of multiple violent crimes, including murder, and sentenced to life in prison.
The Department of Justice said while Allen was incarcerated in Autry State Prison and Coffee Correctional Facility, he used cell phones — dropped in by drones or smuggled in through guards — to direct the other members of the conspiracy.
In an operation investigation that started in 2014, the FBI, the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT) and the Savannah Police Department determined drugs, including cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana, were shipped or delivered from California to Atlanta, and then to Savannah for distribution throughout the area, often concealing the shipments in candy machines, according to the Department of Justice.
Large quantities of vacuum-sealed cash to pay for the supply were also shipped.
Allen and 19 others were indicted in U.S. District Court in 2017 for their roles in the drug trafficking conspiracy.
“All have been adjudicated, with 17 found guilty and sentenced and two cases dismissed,” the release states. “Another 12 related defendants also have been sentenced. Many of the defendants also were convicted and sentenced for related state charges.”
“This sentencing is the result of the hard work and dedication of multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, as part of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force,” said Chris Hacker, the special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta. “As a result, Allen, who continued to wreak havoc in the community even after his state prison sentence will now face federal prison time, without the possibility for parole. Hopefully, this sends the message that the FBI and our partners will go to any length to uphold the law.”
“By directing a drug trafficking network from prison, Allen has shown an obvious disregard for the law which cannot be ignored,” said CNT Director Michael Sarhatt. “CNT continues to focus our efforts on targeting criminal organizations such as this one in order to keep these toxic substances from reaching our community. I am thankful for the assistance from our federal, state, and local partners during this investigation.”
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