Judge sentences participants in Laurens County drug operation

A federal judge has handed down sentences to 10 people involved in a large drug-trafficking operation in Laurens County.

The punishments ranged from probation to more than 12 years in prison for the man whom authorities called the ringleader.

Senior U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen sentenced Michael Derrick Goins, 44, from Miami, Florida, to 151 months in prison following his conviction on a drug trafficking charge, according to a release from the U.S. attorney’s office. Prosecutors called Goins the leader of the organization.

Authorities said the organization trafficked about 15 kilograms -- about 33 pounds -- of cocaine in the area in 2013 alone.

Besides Goins, the other defendants convicted, and their sentences, included:

Andre Colita Wright, 40, of Dublin: 120 months in prison;

Christopher Derrick Duty, 36, of Dublin: 36 months in prison;

Brady Jerome Linton, 31, of Dublin: 78 months in prison;

Anatay Sxlesyll Kyler, 36, of Dublin: 71 months in prison;

Jerome Kellam, 38, of Dublin: 30 months in prison;

Christopher Paul Willis, 36, of Dublin: 39 months in prison;

Luther Hurst, 52, of Dublin: 5 years of probation;

Derrick Bernard Moye; 35, of Dublin: 50 months in prison; and

Verdell Goins, Jr. 45, of Dublin: 41 months in prison.

“The persons indicted in this case exploited their ties to the local area to establish a flourishing drug business,” U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver said in the statement. “The dismantling of this organization sends an important message about the consequences of dealing drugs in the Southern District of Georgia.”

The prosecution resulted from a lengthy investigation by the DEA, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service.