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More defendants charged in meth distribution investigation centered in Northeast Georgia

ATHENS, Ga – Three defendants guilty of distributing methamphetamine in the northeast Georgia region, arrested during the on-going large-scale “Operation Wu Block” investigation, were sentenced to federal prison today, said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal sentenced three Operation Wu Block defendants this morning, all guilty of one count possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine: April Wolford, 29, of Athens-Clarke County was sentenced to serve 84 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release; Daniel Keith McCullough, 27, of Hart County, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 57 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release; and, Austin Nathaniel Pineda, 23, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

“A strong northeast Georgia law enforcement network is unified in our goal to rid our streets of methamphetamine, and remove criminals caught pushing this deadly, highly addictive illegal drug from our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “The work to eliminate methamphetamine distribution across the Middle District of Georgia is on-going and non-stop. I want to thank all of our law enforcement partners for the tremendous bravery they demonstrate daily in their work to rid our communities of methamphetamine.”  

“These defendant’s methamphetamine trafficking activities posed a significant threat to the quality of life in northeast Georgia,” said the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division   Robert J. Murphy. “All participating agencies played a crucial role in the eradication of this criminal network and the dismantling of this once-thriving organization makes our community safer.”

Operation Wu Block is a multi-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Macon Resident Office, FBI Middle Georgia Safe Streets Gang Task Force, Athens-Clarke County Police Department, Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, Hart County Sheriff’s Office, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Department of Corrections and Northeast Regional Drug Task Force in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia. Operation Wu Block has resulted in the seizure of more than 58 kilograms of methamphetamine, more than two kilograms of heroin, 31 firearms and $56,000. To date, federal grand juries in the Middle District of Georgia have returned indictments charging a total of 82 defendants, up from the original 68 reported at the announcement of this ongoing operation in May. Operation Wu Block is part of the larger “Operation Crystal Shield,” a national DEA operation first announced in February during a press conference in Atlanta. The investigation is focused on eight main methamphetamine trafficking transportation hubs across the nation, including Atlanta. Both are on-going operations.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara Jarrett is prosecuting cases arising from this investigation for the Government. Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.

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