A man whose name was at the top of the list in a large federal narcotics indictment more than a year ago received his sentence Monday in U.S. District Court that will result in a lengthy period in prison.
Maurice Fields pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distributing a quantity of marijuana and MDMA, along with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. The plea on the conspiracy charge was to a lesser-included offense — the indicted count carried with it a specified amount of 50 grams or more of MDMA. A conviction on that amount would have led to a longer sentence.
At his plea hearing, a lead investigator on the case testified that law enforcement put a tap on Fields’ phone and that revealed multiple contacts with suppliers and clients. Investigators also put up a surveillance camera outside of Fields’ residence and captured video evidence of customers coming and going that lined up with the phone contacts.
Police execution of a subsequent search warrant turned up marijuana and what was believed to be MDMA, but what later tested positive as bath salts, or N-ethylpentylone.
Fields received a sentence of eight years and one month in prison, to be followed by three years’ supervised release.
In a separate but related matter, Reginald Andre Beckham pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a quantity of crack. According to the plea agreement, Beckham was found Aug. 8, 2018, in possession of crack. The count carries with it a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and three years’ supervised release.
John Draxell Buckley was scheduled to receive his sentence in the same case involving Beckham, but is now set for Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. Buckley pleaded guilty May 20 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distributing a quantity of crack.
Daven Jones, who was scheduled to go on trial next week, instead pleaded guilty Monday to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual activity. Jones was of a group of several men indicted on charges brought by federal prosecutors regarding illegal online activity and sexual encounters with minors.
The charges came from a sting operation conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which also included the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Kingsland Police Department.
“It’s always troubling that there are adults who seek to prey on underage children for their own gratification,” U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine said at the time of the indictment. “Anyone with such disturbing proclivities should be reminded that our law enforcement agencies are diligent in their efforts to find them and prevent the exploitation of innocent children.”
Penalties for Jones include up to 30 years in prison and five years to lifetime supervised release.