On Wednesday, three people involved in a major drug trafficking operation, including a man suspected of killing one of his partners, pleaded guilty to federal drug charges.
Armand S. Saedi, 27, from Atlanta, and Morgan M. Slaton, 22, from Hoshton, Georgia, pleaded guilty to the US District Court for conspiring to possess alprazolam with the intent to distribute, recognizing its role in the production of thousands of fake Xanax tablets. Everyone faces the maximum possible sentence of five years.
Colby H. Watters, 22, from Loganville, Georgia, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute fentanyl, as well as possession of firearms in connection with a drug-related crime. Each of these crimes is punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to 10 years.
Watters, who had been with the National Army Guard until his arrest, conspired with others to produce up to 20,000 fake xanax tablets per month, which were then sold on the street or through a dark web from January 1, 2016. They were charged earlier this year. Watters and Walker Forrester, 24, from Loganville, Georgia, also stole fentanyl from a Canadian supplier and used it to create carfentanil, says US Assistant Attorney Patricia Rhodes.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, carfentanil is 100 times stronger than fentanyl and 10,000 times stronger than morphine.
Watters was arrested in November 2017 after a traffic stop in Harlem led to the discovery of 5,200 tablets of alprazolam, 182 grams of marijuana and a clipped gun.
According to Rhodes, Saedi went into drug trafficking operations when Forrester and Watters lost their Canadian supplier when they stole fentanyl. Saedi then provided them with alprazolam. According to the prosecutor, Slaton was a girlfriend of 25-year-old Chase Loffler, who helped with the counting and packaging of fake pills.
Watters and Jonathan B. Leicester, 22, who pleaded guilty to conspiring with drugs in July, are charged with Walton County homicide. Loffler, whose body was found buried in Leicester’s backyard, disappeared in March 2018. Investigators believe that he was beaten and suffocated.
Forrester and Larry Overton, 46, from Harlem, pleaded not guilty to this case. Their cases are pending.