Additional drug-trafficker sentenced in candy machine distribution conspiracy

Aaron Craig Hubbard (CCSO)

A Savannah man was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in a cross-country drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed cocaine and marijuana throughout coastal Georgia, as stated in a release.

Aaron Craig Hubbard a.k.a. "Yup," a.k.a "Yap," 30, was sentenced after a guilty plea of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana and to being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to United States District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr.

His 136 month sentence will be served consecutive to his sentence for violating state parole. There is no parole in the federal system. Once he is released, Hubbard will be on federal supervised release for four years, according to the release.

The drug trafficking organization Hubbard was a part of spanned from California to Savannah and marijuana sales were used to finance cocaine purchases. Cash proceeds were also hidden in candy machines then shipped to hubs in Atlanta and California. The release states that co-conspirators in those areas shipped pounds of marijuana and kilograms of cocaine to Savannah through the U.S. Mail and in vehicles with hidden compartments.

Hubbard served as a major cocaine dealer in Savannah for the organization while he was on state parole, USDJ says. Agents intercepted him on court-authorized wiretaps and seized close to $100,000 in cash, multiple firearms, pounds of marijuana and other drug trafficking tools from his stash houses.

The release states that Hubbard was in frequent phone contact with Eugene "Poncho" Allen, who is alleged to be one of the ring leaders of the organization, despite currently serving a life sentence for murder in a Georgia state prison. Officials believe Allen has been running the organization using smuggled contraband phones.

A federal grand jury in August 2017 charged 20 defendants with drug trafficking offenses and most of them have pleaded guilty. During this investigation, agents seized eight firearms, more than 50 pounds of marijuana, multiple kilograms of cocaine and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.

RELATED: Savannah drug traffickers sentenced; hid cash in candy machines, sent drugs by mail

“This operation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force is an excellent example of the success the good guys achieve when we work together as a united team,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “The coordinated actions of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors will continue to make our neighborhoods safer by hunting down violent drug dealers and sending them to prison.”

“Hubbard continued to distribute drugs on the streets of Savannah while on state parole, showing an intentional disregard for the law,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Thanks to the hard work and cooperation of multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies as part of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, he will serve his entire federal sentence because there is no opportunity for parole in the federal system.”

“Those breaking the law don’t care about jurisdictional lines, and law enforcement agencies shouldn’t either,” said Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap. “Our community benefits the most when all law-enforcement agencies work in tandem. This task force is the perfect example of why that is important. I want to thank all of the partners for their hard work in getting these criminals off our streets.”

Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT) Director Everett Ragan said, “This operation is a prime example of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies collaborating to dismantle a drug distribution ring operating in Chatham County and throughout the United States. CNT prides itself on our close working partnerships, and takes even more pride in putting drug dealers away for a long time.”

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