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Dealer gets 19 years in federal pen for prison conspiracy that trafficked drugs in Athens area

By Joe Johnson

A Commerce man who'd been convicted for his role in a prison inmate-directed armed drug conspiracy operating in the Athens area has been sentenced to 19 years in federal prison.

Brendan R. Gates, 37 was sentenced by a federal district court judge to serve 228 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. The sentence is to be served consecutively to any state prison sentence that comes from a pending drug case in Gwinnett County.

Gates had been found guilty by a federal jury in September 2022 of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

His co-defendant at trial, 51-year-old Cindy Stamey of Danielsville was sentenced to 120 months in prison on Sept. 18, 2023, after being found guilty of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Cindy Stamey

“Armed criminal networks create chaos and sow destruction in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary, whose Middle District of Georgia office prosecuted the drug conspiracy case. “Law enforcement at every level is working together and tirelessly to dismantle these types of criminal networks in a collective effort to make our towns and cities safer.”

The following co-defendants have also been sentenced:

Adonias Sales Temaj aka “Alacran,” 28, of Norcross pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine in July 2022 and was sentenced to 260 months in prison and three years of probation; Malcody Dinges, 43, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine on Dec. 16, 2021, and was sentenced to 240 months in prison (to run consecutive to any state-imposed sentence) to be followed by three years of supervised release;

Malcody Dinges

In 2018, federal agents learned that Dinges was conducting drug deals using contraband cell phones while in custody at Wheeler Correctional facility, where he was serving a 20-year sentence for Meth trafficking and a 2015 shootout with sheriff’s deputies in the parking lot of the Banks Crossing shopping center in Commerce.

During the investigation, agents learned that Dinges was communicating with the co-conspirators in the Athens area about controlled substances; these individuals would travel to locations in Atlanta as directed by Dinges to pick up meth and return to Athens to distribute the drugs. Dinges received a fee for brokering the deals. The drug trafficking organization was responsible for distributing more than 100 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Also sentenced were: Ervin Sales Temaj aka “Milton Aguilar,” 34, of Norcross, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine on April 13, 2022, and was sentenced to 121 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release; Carrie Kasper, 31, of Athens, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on July 15, 2021, and was sentenced to 120 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release;

Carrie Kasper

Christopher Wilson, 41, of Hull, Georgia, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on April 13, 2022, and was sentenced to 55 months in prison and three years of probation; Justin Maddox, 44, of Athens, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in August 2021 and was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of probation; Kaylyn Lackey, 21, of Commerce, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in May 2022 and was sentenced to 20 months in prison and three years of probation.


According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, federal agents learned in 2018 that co-defendant Dinges was conducting drug deals using contraband cell phones while in custody at the Wheeler Correctional Facility. During the course of the investigation, agents learned that Dinges was communicating with Gates and other co-defendants located in the Athens area about distributing controlled substances; these individuals would travel to locations in Atlanta as directed by Dinges to receive methamphetamine and return to Athens to distribute the drugs. Dinges received a fee for brokering the deals.

The case was investigated by Drug Enforcement Administration, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and the Madison County Sheriff Office.

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5 Comments


Another example of how it's supposed to be done!!!

Are you PAYING ATTENTION DA Gonzalez?!!!!

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..... until proven guilty. Well, confessing is the same thing in my book. Lock 'em up. Bread and water and maybe some Publix chicken salad. Toss the key into the Oconee and make the idiots watch it sink.

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Scourge on the community?

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Wasting oxygen. Worthless.

Actually, they look oxygen deprived.

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Would you say, ‘they are animals that need to be PUT DOWN?’

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