Georgia Inmate and Co-Conspirators Sentenced for Firearms and Drug Trafficking

Georgia Inmate and Co-Conspirators Sentenced for Firearms and Drug Trafficking

In a recent federal case, James Lewallen Meeks, an inmate in a Georgia Department of Corrections facility, along with two co-conspirators, Jamey Michael Latty and Mark Anthony Powell, have been sentenced for their involvement in trafficking firearms, methamphetamine, and fentanyl in Northwest Georgia.

“While serving a sentence for a violent crime in a Georgia Correctional Facility, Meeks continued his criminal activity by brokering a number of illegal firearm and drug transactions with his co-defendants in Northwest Georgia,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Meeks will now serve two decades in federal prison after completing his state sentence, and his co-defendants are headed to federal prison as well.”

“This case exemplifies our commitment to prevent drug trafficking and criminal activity from poisoning our communities,” stated ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Alicia Jones. “It also sends a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue and prosecute the leaders and members of these violent drug enterprises.”

“Our communities remain under attack by criminal drug trafficking organizations with no regard for the harm and destruction they cause,” said Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Division. “This investigation and subsequent arrests of the individuals in this violent drug trafficking organization demonstrate DEA’s commitment to protecting our community by destroying these drug trafficking organizations.”

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: Starting around February 2022, James Lewallen Meeks, an inmate at Wheeler Correctional Facility in Alamo, Georgia, used a contraband cell phone to coordinate with Jamey Michael Latty and Mark Anthony Powell to sell firearms and drugs. Specifically, in March 2022, Meeks worked with Latty to sell methamphetamine in Rockmart, Georgia, and later sell methamphetamine and a Glock pistol to an individual in Cave Springs, Georgia. Meeks also coordinated repeatedly with Powell to sell methamphetamine and what turned out to be a mixture of fentanyl and xylazine to the same individual in Carrollton, Georgia. Along with the drugs, Powell sold ammunition and five firearms, including an UZI .22 caliber long rifle with a silencer, at the direction of Meeks. In April 2022, Latty separately sold ammunition and four firearms, including an AR-style rifle designed as a machine gun, to the same individual in Rome, Georgia.

On June 2, 2022, Latty was arrested in Hiram, Georgia in possession of approximately one kilogram of methamphetamine. That same day, Powell was arrested in Carrollton after leading law enforcement on a vehicle chase during which approximately one kilogram of methamphetamine was thrown out of Powell’s truck window. A pistol and a substance containing fentanyl was found in Powell’s vehicle at the time of his arrest. Agents also executed a federal search warrant at a residence in Carrollton, where some of the drug and firearms transactions had occurred, and seized six firearms from the residence, including rifles, shotguns, and a pistol. Latty and Powell were prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because each had previously been convicted of a felony offense.

After Latty was indicted, he fled the state and assumed a false identity. Through the efforts of multiple state and federal agencies, Latty was eventually located and apprehended by U.S. Deputy Marshals in Collinsville, Alabama.

After pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, U.S. District Judge William M. Ray, II sentenced the three men as follows:

James Lewallen Meeks, 39, of Dallas, Georgia, was sentenced to 20 years in prison to be followed by eight years of supervised release, consecutive to the time he is already serving in state custody. Jamey Michael Latty, 45, of Centre, Alabama, was sentenced to 15 years and one month in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Mark Anthony Powell, 43, of Jackson, Georgia, was sentenced to 10 years, seven months in prison to be followed by eight years of supervised release. This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration, with invaluable assistance from the Georgia State Patrol, Haralson Paulding County Drug Task Force, Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Police Department, Michigan State University Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force Office, and the Special Response Team of DeKalb County, Alabama Sherriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebeca M. Ojeda prosecuted the case.

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