Many people who work as law enforcement officers or federal prosecutors don’t do it for any kind of fame, money or awards. They serve out of the same spirit — to help preserve law and order in our country.
Still, it is nice when the hard work and thousands of hours that these officers and lawyers put in on a case is recognized. That’s what happened last week when 10 officers and prosecutors from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force within the Southern District of Gerogia’s U.S. Attorney’s Office were honored with a national award for “Overcoming Technology Obstacles” for their work on Operation Cellmate.
The operation led to the shutdown of a multi-state methamphetamine conspiracy connected to several different gangs that were being run out of a state prison. Daniel Roger Alo and 15 co-conspirators were convicted for their roles in the scheme.
The conspiracy was run by Alo out of Calhoun State Prison in Morgan with drones flying contraband cellphones over the prison to co-conspirators. Compromised prison guards also smuggled items into the prison.
The investigation covered two cases that came through the U.S. Courthouse in Brunswick. Along with the Alo case, five people were also named in a separate indictment. That included state lottery winner Ronnie Music Jr., who investigators said used part of his $3 million in lottery winnings to bankroll the conspiracy.
Those recognized for their work included assistant U.S. attorneys Greg Gilluly, Tania Groover and Theodore Hertzberg; Special Agent Thomas Crawford III, Special Agent James Turner, Forensic Auditor Christa Morgan and Forensic Investigator Richard Ruka, all with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; GBI Special Agent Bobby Banks; special agents Robert Livingston and Christopher Akins with the Drug Enforcement Administration; and U.S. Marshals Task Force Officer Keith Lank, representing the state Department of Corrections.
Meth continues to be an insidious problem for our nation. It is an addictive high that leads people down a road of destruction.
The more meth law enforcement officers pull off the street means less money for the criminals that push it and make it. Putting an end to networks like the one Alo was running from prison will no doubt help save lives.
We thank everyone who was involved in Operation Cellmate for putting an end to the conspiracy and making Southern Georgia safer in the process.