7 defendants sentenced after drugs, firearm investigation at Southwest Ga. motels
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Seven defendants guilty of various crimes related to a multi-agency drug and firearms investigation at several Southwest Georgia motels were sentenced for their crimes this week in federal court, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.
The following defendants were sentenced Thursday:
- Robert Scott Kennedy aka “Robbie”, 37, of Albany, was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release after he was convicted by a federal jury on June 30, of possession with intent to distribute heroin, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
- Emanuel Cobb aka “Fresh”, 37, of Albany, was sentenced to serve over 11 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release after he previously pleaded guilty to distribution of methamphetamine.
- Joshua Walls, 36, of Albany, was sentenced to serve 4 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release after previously pleading guilty to distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a machine gun.
The following defendants were sentenced on Wednesday:
- Donald Hammock, 57, of Shellman, was sentenced to serve over 15 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release after previously pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
- Daniel Landon Knight, 30, of Albany, was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release after previously pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and attempting to escape from custody.
- Haley Roberts, 33, of Leesburg, was sentenced to serve over six years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release after previously pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
- Cody Harman, 36, of Albany, was sentenced to serve two years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release after previously pleading guilty to distribution of methamphetamine.
All sentences were handed down by U.S. District Judge Leslie Gardner in Albany. There is no parole in the federal system.
“The people involved in this crime ring are now held accountable for trafficking very dangerous weapons and illegal drugs into our region,” said acting U.S. Attorney, Peter D. Leary. “Federal, state and local law enforcement officers successfully ended this criminal organization and are continuing the work daily to curb violence and crime in Southwest Georgia and across the Middle District of Georgia.”
“These sentences wrap up a combined effort by local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to remove a double-edged threat of drugs and guns circulating in the Albany community,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The results of this diligent investigation send a message to criminals that their life choices have very serious consequences.”
“Illegal guns and drugs have no place in Georgia. They are a danger to the community and breed fear amongst hardworking citizens. We value our partnership with federal and local agencies to work these cases that lead to successful prosecutions,” said GBI Director Vic Reynolds.
According to court documents, from Jan. 2020 through Aug. 2020, law enforcement agents investigated methamphetamine and heroin distribution activities of the defendants at six motels in Albany.
In the course of this investigation, agents said they learned that not only were the members of the group regularly dealing in controlled substances, but were also often in possession of or selling firearms. Further, they learned that some of the firearms were fully automatic and in the process of being converted to fully automatic or otherwise altered.
Agents said Harman, Walls, and Cobb admitted their involvement in drug sales and Walls admitted that he sold a rifle equipped with a bump stock and a 30-round magazine, which falls under the category of a machine gun under federal law. Such firearms allow a shooter to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.
Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies took Knight into custody on a state probation warrant violation on July 15, 2020.
Knight was previously convicted in Lee County Superior Court in April 2014 of a four-count felony and sentenced to serve 12 years in jail; he was on probation at the time of his arrest. From jail, Knight was recorded giving Roberts instructions to relocate “bangers” which agents believed to be code for firearms.
On July 20, 2020, law enforcement officers arrested Roberts on a state probation warrant violation. Roberts was previously convicted in Lee County Superior Court in April 2017 of a three-count felony violation and was on probation at the time of her arrest.
During a search of a motel room she was staying in, officers found 12 firearms, including five AK-15 style rifles without any visible make, model, or serial number markings. Further investigation revealed that Walls had assisted Roberts in moving the firearms from Florida to Albany.
On July 25, 2020, a Randolph County Sheriff’s Office deputy was on routine patrol and observed a vehicle driven by Hammock crossing the center line and entering the oncoming lane of traffic.
During the stop for suspected DUI, the deputy found quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, pills, stolen property, and two firearms including a loaded handgun and a shortened barrel shotgun. Hammock admitted that he was a felon and knew that he could not have guns. He said he had purchased the firearms from Walls.
Kennedy was taken into custody on Aug. 21, 2020, for multiple outstanding arrest warrants.
Kennedy was found in possession of a .40 caliber Glock 23 pistol and a distribution amount of heroin. Kennedy also swallowed a quantity of heroin and required medical attention at the scene. Kennedy has a significant criminal history including felony convictions for burglary, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and obstruction of an officer.
The case was investigated by the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, DEA, ATF, GBI, Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Randolph County Sherriff’s Office.
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