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Three Partners Plead Guilty in Dark Web Drug Trafficking Case

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Three people involved in a major drug trafficking operation, including a man suspected of killing one partner, pleaded guilty to federal drug charges Wednesday.

Armand S. Saedi, 27, of Atlanta, and Morgan M. Slaton, 22, of Hoschton, Ga., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to possess alprazolam with the intent to distribute, admitting their roles in the manufacturing of thousands of counterfeit Xanax pills. Each faces a maximum possible sentence of five years.

Kolbie H. Watters, 22, of Loganville, Ga., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking crime. Those crimes are each punishable by 10 years to life in prison.

Watters, who was in the Army National Guard until his arrest, conspired with the others to produce as many as 20,000 counterfeit Xanax pills a month, pills that were then sold on the street or through the dark web from Jan. 1, 2016, until they were indicted earlier this year. Watters and Walker Forrester, 24, of Loganville, Ga., also stole fentanyl from a Canadian supplier and used it to create carfentanil, said Assistant U.S. 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 alprazolam pills, 182 grams of marijuana and a sawed-off shotgun.

Saedi entered the drug trafficking operation when Forrester and Watters lost their Canadian supplier when they stole the fentanyl, Rhodes said. Saedi then supplied them alprazolam. Slaton was the girlfriend of Chase Loffler, 25, and helped with the counting and packaging of the counterfeit pills, the prosecutor said.

Watters and Jonathan B. Lester, 22, who plead guilty to drug conspiracy in July, are charged with murder in Walton County. Loffler, whose body was found buried in Lester’s backyard, disappeared in March 2018. Investigators believe he was beaten and suffocated.

Forrester, and Larry Overton, 46, of Harlem, have pleaded not guilty in the case. Their cases are pending.

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Written by Kofi Anash

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