Federal prosecutors in Georgia announced the convictions of four men indicted for operating a drug trafficking ring that involved using Facebook and Snapchat to facilitate the sales of heroin.
In a Justice Department press release, U.S. Attorney John Horn said Bernard “Big Pat” Stokley and his co-conspirators including Alvin Hughley, Vance Hoard, and Tobias Ellison pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics in Atlanta Federal Court earlier this week.
The charges which ultimately culminated in the convictions of the four men stemmed from a joint investigation involving the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Atlanta Police Department.
Horn said Atlanta Police initially uncovered the social media drug ring after receiving a tip on the CrimeStoppers tip hotline that Stokley was advertising heroin and even offering “specials of the day” on his Facebook posts and Snapchat accounts.
According to Prosecutors, the defendants received orders on a phone number listed on Stokely’s social media accounts and orchestrated deliveries of heroin mainly in the English Avenue section of Atlanta, which is an area where authorities have conducted numerous raids in recent years.
Investigators said Stokley was present when the orders came in but always dispatched one of his three co-defendants with the heroin to complete the drug transaction.
“Dismantling this heroin ring illustrates the changing nature of the heroin market in the English Avenue community, where the dealers used to sell openly on every corner, they now have to arrange their sales via telephone or social media,” Horn said in the statement.
The federal district court judge has scheduled a sentencing date of April 20th for all four co-conspirators.
Attorneys for the four men haven’t immediately responded to calls for comment.