Lead defendant in meth-trafficking conspiracy sentenced to over 20 years in prison

Lead defendant in Richmond County meth-trafficking conspiracy sentenced to over 20 years in federal prison
Magnum Jelani Neely, 38, of Millen, an inmate at Dooly State Prison was sentenced to 278 months...
Magnum Jelani Neely, 38, of Millen, an inmate at Dooly State Prison was sentenced to 278 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, according to David Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.(KSLA)
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 2:34 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WALB) - The lead defendant in an Augusta-area meth trafficking ring has been sentenced to over two decades in federal prison.

Magnum Jelani Neely, 38, of Millen, an inmate at Dooly State Prison was sentenced to 278 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, according to David Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

“Magnum Neely orchestrated a large-scale meth distribution operation from behind bars while serving a 10-year state sentence for violent crime,” Estes said.

Neely used contraband cell phones to contact couriers outside prison to deliver drugs to buyers both inside and outside Georgia prisons, according to court documents. Neely and three co-conspirators were indicted in April 2022. All four defendants admitted guilt, according to the Southern District of Georgia.

The co-conspirators include:

  • Patricia Gregory, 45, of Augusta, was sentenced to 87 months in prison and fined $2,000 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine
  • Fanesia Smith, 39, of Augusta, was sentenced to 48 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine
  • Yvonne Smith, 58, of Augusta, Smith’s mother, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to misprision of a felony for knowing of and helping to conceal, the criminal activity of the conspiracy

“We appreciate the support of our local and federal partners in ensuring that justice will be served on this individual for his role in jeopardizing the safe operations of our facilities, and most importantly, the safety of the public,” Tyrone Oliver, Georgia Department of Corrections commissioner, said.