Seventeen additional defendants, including several from Bryan County, indicted on drug trafficking and firearms charges as part of Operation Vanilla Gorilla have pled guilty in federal court, bringing to 33 the total number of guilty pleas only months after charges were filed.
Operation Vanilla Gorilla, an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces targeted the Ghost Face Gangsters, a violent criminal street gang largely operated from inside Georgia’s prison system.
The multi-agency federal, state and local operation netted 46 indictments on federal charges, primarily for drug trafficking and illegal firearms possession, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
Indictments were handed down in November and December 2018 in U.S. District Court in Savannah. Sixteen of the defendants pled guilty in February, and 17 more have since entered guilty pleas in U.S. District Court, according to officials.
Several are from Bryan County, including:
• Waylon Jesse Hodges, 41, of Pembroke, pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, and faces up to 20 years in prison;
• Marcos Logan-Greco, 28, of Richmond Hill, pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and faces up to life in prison;
• Jennifer J. Grooms, 36, of Ellabell. pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, and faces up to 20 years in prison;
• Robert Fuller, a/k/a “Robbie,” 39, of Richmond Hill., pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, and faces up to 20 years in prison;
• Andrew P. Campos, a/k/a “Chubs,” 28, of Richmond Hill, pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and faces up to life in prison.
The guilty pleas of two additional defendants have been sealed by the court.
Other defendants from Bryan County who pled guilty earlier this year in the case are Jessie Ray Hurt, 40, of Ellabell; Miranda Burnsed, 32, of Pembroke; and Raymond Warren, 47, of Pembroke.
Also indicted from Bryan County were Tyler Shuman, 25, of Pembroke, and Cynthia MIrcale, 48, Ellabell.
The indictments allege that the narcotics-trafficking conspiracy began as early as 2015, operating in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, Emmanuel, Evans, and Tattnall Counties, in the Southern District of Georgia, and elsewhere.
Members of the conspiracy associated with the Ghost Face Gangsters and with other criminal street gangs to aid in the distribution of controlled substances, for protection, and to promote a climate of fear.
Operation Vanilla Gorilla represents one of the largest-ever takedowns of Ghost Face Gangsters associates, officials say.
Operation Vanilla Gorilla was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
The case was investigated by the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Chatham County Narcotics Team, the Georgia Department of Corrections Intelligence Division, the Savannah Police Department, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond Hill Police Department, the Pooler Police Department, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Bloomingdale Police Department, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service.