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Federal Defendant Sentenced for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin

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 BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Newville man for conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine and heroin, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger.

Chief U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced Tavara Gissendanner, 36, of Newville, to 40 years in prison and 20 years of supervised release. Gissendanner was found guilty by a federal jury in August 2020.

“This sentence serves as a warning to every individual involved in dealing illegal drugs,” Escalona said.  “My office remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring justice to those who sell dangerous and illegal drugs in our communities.”

“Gissendanner’s sentencing strikes a major blow to this drug trafficking operation that distributed dangerous drugs, including heroin and methamphetamine, throughout Alabama,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “The great relationships and collaboration we have with our law enforcement partners was the key to successfully removing this poison from our streets.”

Evidence at trial proved that in early 2019 Gissendanner directed a network of associates in trafficking quantities of narcotics – including heroin and methamphetamine – and money across the state. Gissendanner orchestrated the drug trafficking while in Alabama Department of Corrections custody, in part by using contraband cellular phones he obtained in prison. Beginning in early 2019, investigators intercepted shipments of drugs to associates of Gissendanner in the Birmingham area. In one instance, investigators replaced seized heroin with mock narcotics before arresting the recipient of the drugs in Bessemer. The intercepted heroin was worth an estimated $150,000. Additional seizures in the case included quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin-fentanyl mixtures, and cash.

The investigation was conducted through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations, which are primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. More information on the OCDETF program is available here: https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf/about-ocdetf.

Homeland Security Investigations and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency investigated the case with the assistance of the Alabama Department of Corrections.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Austin Shutt and Allison Garnett prosecuted the case.



Source: http://criminal-justice-online.blogspot.com/2021/04/federal-defendant-sentenced-for.html


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