top of page

Rolling Ridge heroin king pin convicted by federal court jury in Athens

By Joe Johnson

A drug trafficker who supplied heroin to dealers at the Rolling Ridge community in Athens was convicted on drug and gun charges last week, following a trial in U.S. District Court in Athens.

Nathaniel Hilliard Jr.,37, of Raleigh, N.C. was found guilty of possessing a firearm by a convicted felon, three counts of distributing heroin, and failing to appear in court.

The jury reached its verdict on Thursday; Judge C. Ashley Royal is to pass sentencing at an unscheduled date.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, local and federal agents were investigating armed drug trafficking in the Athens community in May 2016, in which time Hilliard sold an FBI confidential informant a .38 special revolver and several quantities of heroin at the Rolling Ridge Apartments in Athens.

All of the buys were recorded on audio and video, and one transaction reportedly occurred in the presence of a preschool-aged child.

Hilliard has prior convictions for conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault by strangulation in North Carolina.

While on pretrial release, Hilliard was living in North Carolina and being supervised by a federal probation officer in the U.S. Western District of North Carolina.

On April 7, 2022, Hilliard’s P.O. advised him to make sure he appeared in court for his pretrial conference in Athens on April 13, 2022, but Hilliard was uncooperative and did not show up to a requested meeting with the P.O. the next day. He also failed to appear at his pretrial conference in Athens, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest and Hilliard was located on July 8 and

was arrested in Charlotte for domestic violence.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

The case was investigated by the FBI Athens Middle Georgia Safe Streets Gang Task Force, Northeast Georgia Regional Drug Task Force and the Athens Clarke County Police Department Gang Unit. 

471 views2 comments
bottom of page