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January 19--  JULIUS PINKSTON, 62, of Metter, Georgia, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on Tuesday by Senior United States District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield for his role in a cocaine trafficking ring.  The judge also ordered Pinkston to serve five years on supervised release upon his release from prison. 

  Pinkston was the lead defendant in a 35-defendant indictment returned by the federal grand jury in 2006.  Pinkston fled before the indictment was returned and remained a fugitive until early April, 2011 when he was arrested by deputies of the United States Marshals Service in Douglas, Georgia. Pinkston pled guilty in July, 2011 to one count of distribution of cocaine.

        United States Attorney Edward Tarver said, “This major drug trafficker fled and evaded capture for approximately five years in an attempt to avoid prosecution and sentencing for his crimes.  Federal agents and prosecutors remained prepared and ready to prosecute this defendant whenever and wherever he was apprehended.  It is my hope that this prosecution will give further notice to those who engage in federal criminal conduct in our communities: you can run, but you cannot hide.”  

        Mr. Tarver commended the hard work and dedication of Special Agent Stephen Tinsley and former Task Force Agent Kent Munsey of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Special Agent Kevin Waters of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and Special Agent Marcus Kirkland of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who led the investigation of this case.  Tarver also commended Deputy Rich Kirby of the Southeast Fugitive Task Force (Savannah Office) of the U.S. Marshal’s Service who led the fugitive search and apprehension of Pinkston.  The indictment against Pinkston arose out of Operation Snakepit, a major drug investigation conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.