Coffee County man indicted for conspiring to traffic drugs

A Coffee County man and 11 others have been federally indicted for conspiring to traffic large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, Oxycodone, and other drugs across south Georgia.

The charges resulted from a joint investigation by the DEA, the GBI, the Bacon County Sheriff's Office, the Jeff Davis County Sheriff's Office, the Coffee County Sheriff's Office, the Brantley County Sheriff's Office, the Ware County Sheriff's Office, and with assistance from the Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office and the United States Marshal's Service according to information released by the Department of Justice.

Those charged include:
- Crecencio Ortiz-Castillo, 21, of McRae, Georgia;
- Mauricio Lepe-Cholico, 36, of Baxley, Georgia;
- John Thomas Register, 38, of Alma, Georgia;
- Westley Kayeon Kennedy, 27, of Alma, Georgia;
- Recardo Mantabbyon Harris, 35, of Nicholls, Georgia;
- Markeish Lamaryia Wilkins, 27, of Alma, Georgia;
- Jeremy Peterson, 26, of Alma, Georgia;
- Ottie Lafayette Corbitt, 28, of Douglas, Georgia;
- Johnny Leon Drake, 36, of Baxley, Georgia;
- Nathan Peter Newham, 34, of Hazlehurst, Georgia;
- Irene Kennedy, 54, of Alma, Georgia; and
- Contory Kennedy, 22, of Alma, Georgia.

The defendants were arraigned last week in federal court in Brunswick where they all entered pleas of not guilty. Of the 12 defendants appearing, Irene Kennedy, Contory Kennedy, and Markeish Wilkins were released on secured bonds, while the other 9 defendants were denied bond and ordered detained pending a trial.

Prosecutors say that if convicted of the drug trafficking conspiracy charge, each defendant faces a maximum of 40 years in prison and a potential fine of $5,000,000.