AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – An Augusta man has been sentenced to 20years in federal prison after admitting his participation in a major methamphetamine-trafficking organization that led to at least one overdose death.

According to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, Jason Dwayne Wheatley, 42, pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute, and to Distribute, 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and an Amount of Heroin.

According to the court documents, Wheatley and his co-defendants were indicted in April 2022 in USA v. Wheatley et. al, based on evidence gathered during the investigation in Operation Wheat Fields, which began in early 2018 and identified a pipeline of illegal drugs from Mexico routed through Atlanta and into the Augusta area.

Authorities say that this investigation led to multiple searches of residences and hotel rooms, which linked at least one overdose death in the Augusta area to drugs distributed by the conspiracy.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, six other defendants were named in the federal indictment along with Wheatley.

According to authorities, Wheatley has been also been fined $2,500 and ordered to serve five years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and the Swainsboro Police Department have been listed in the investigation of Operation Wheat Fields.