Cocaine conspiracy revealed

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By Patrick Yost

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On November 9, 2015 officials quietly unsealed 18 criminal indictments in relation to a vast investigation that outlined the alleged criminal activities of a man who “at the time was the main supplier of crack cocaine in Madison, Ga.”

And now, according to Morgan County Sheriff’s Office reports, arrests are being made from an investigation that began in 2011 and spread into the realm of racketeering and drug sales.

According to Capt. Chris Bish, Criminal Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, officers and investigators allegedly made an initial controlled crack cocaine buy in July, 2011 from Stacy McClelland, also known as “Big Chris” and “Big Cheese.”

At the time, Bish said, McClelland had been banned from the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit because of a prior cocaine conviction but was traveling to Madison on Thursday of each week and allegedly staying until Sunday at the Meadow Ridge Drive residence of Brenda Collier and selling drugs both on the street corner near the residence and from the residence.

Officers were able to secure a search warrant for McClelland’s phones regarding the number of calls, duration of calls and time of calls. From that, Bish said, a larger net was cast over alleged co–conspirators in the drug trafficking.

In total, 60 individuals, from alleged distributors to users where identified, named, photographed and catalogued in the investigation. In the end, Bish said, officials chose to indict 18 persons on various charges ranging from sale of cocaine, to obstruction to the use of a communication facility in committing a felony to possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. But the main charge, Bish said, that faces all 18 defendants, is violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influent ce and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO).

The RICO charge, Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley said, applies whenever there is an “on-going conspiratorial type of crime.”

Documents allege that McClellan and a host of co-conspirators soled crack cocaine primarily in the Green Meadows and Vine Street areas but also in the Morgan Circle area. Bish said after authorities made several controlled buys and “conducted surveillance to corroborate that this was a drug trafficking organization” officials received clearance from Superior Court Judge William Prior to begin placing wire taps on suspect’s phones.

They also placed tracking devices on suspects vehicles to monitor movement.

On June 12 McClellan was arrested after a brief traffic chase on Doster Road. At that time his parole was violated and he was returned to prison. With his arrest, reams of evidence that included hundreds of hours telephone wire tap information, was then given to then Assistant District Attorney Alison Burleson. Burleson, Markley said, elected to prosecute the enterprise under RICO statutes.

“It was a significant drug case,” Markley said.

“It puts heavy, heavy time on all the participants,” Bish said.

In September, 2013 the evidence was presented to a Morgan County Grand Jury and indictments were handed down, but sealed based on the scope of the case and because the investigation, Bish said, had led to “spin–off” investigations that are still on–going.

“Otherwise other investigations would have surfaced that we did not want to compromise.”

Since the indictments were unsealed, Bish said, the suspects have been notified that there are warrants for their arrest. Two men involved with the enterprise have died and as of press time Tuesday four persons have turned themselves into authorities. The rest, Markley said, will either come in on their own volition or will be arrested. “Each of these people had a particular role,” Bish said.

Bish said the investigation was prompted, in  part, by residents complaints of open air drug dealing in the affected neighborhoods. “His (McClelland) arrest affected the sale of crack cocaine in that area.”

“At the time  he was the main supplier of crack cocaine in Madison…”

Barkley said investigators and agents from both the Madison Police Department and Georgia Bureau of Investigations participated in the investigation.

The following persons have been indicted as a result of the investigation.

Frederick Binion, 47, Madison, two counts RICO, one count possession with intent to distribute cocaine and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Gene Bishop, 59, Madison, two counts RICO and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Ben Cain, 59, Madison two counts RICO and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Felicia Clark, 42, Madison two counts RICO and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Brenda Collier, 61, Madison, two counts RICO.

Mark Dobbs, 41, Covington, two counts RICO.

Joel Fambrough, 67, Rutledge, two counts RICO, one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Mary Jane Gordon, two counts RICO and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Sharif Grove, deceased, two counts RICO.

John Jefferson, 53, Madison, two counts RICO and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Philanda Mathis, 35, Madison, two counts RICOI and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Stacey McClelland, 43, Madison, two counts RICO, one count possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, one count sale of cocaine, one count use of communication facility in committing a felony, one count possession of a drug related object and one count obstruction.

Otis Morgan, 59, Madison two counts RICO and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Bobbie Prescott, 53, Madison two counts RICO and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Kelly Stueber, 50, two counts RICO and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Carolyn Webb, 61, Madison, two counts RICO and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Belinda White, 54, Madison two counts RICO and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

Mike Wright, deceased, two counts RICO and one count use of communication facility in committing a felony.

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