AUGUSTA (WJBF) – All four defendants in an Augusta methamphetamine-trafficking ring await sentencing now that the conspiracy’s lead defendant has admitted guilt.

Magnum Jelani Neely, 38, of Millen, Ga., an inmate at Dooly State Prison, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute, and to Distribute, 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine.

Agents from the DEA joined investigators from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the Burke County Sheriff’s Office in identifying Neely as coordinating a methamphetamine trafficking operation from inside prison.

Authorities say Neely used contraband cell phones to contact couriers outside prison to deliver drugs to buyers.

Neely and three co-conspirators were indicted in April 2022.

The three co-conspirators include:

  • Patricia Gregory, 45, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute, and to Distribute, 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine;
  • Fanesia Smith, 39, of Augusta, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute, and to Distribute, 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine; and,
  • Yvonne Smith, 57, of Augusta – mother of Fanesia Smith – faces a statutory sentence of up to three years in prison after pleading guilty to Misprision of a Felony for knowing of, and helping to conceal, the criminal activity of the conspiracy.