Just a few hours after the apprehension of a suspicious person who fled from deputies Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced he, along with 19 other area residents, were indicted Wednesday on federal drug and gun charges.
John Dillon Joyner, 25, was arrested after a four-hour manhunt Wednesday. Reported as a suspicious person, he gave Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies a false name and birthdate before fleeing.
During the search with K9 units and a helicopter, investigators learned Joyner was wanted on a parole warrant. A few hours after his capture, the United States Department of Justice issued a press release listing him as one of 20 suspects charged “with multiple felonies including drug distribution, illegal firearms possession and related offenses resulting from a more than two-year joint operation of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine.
According to the statement, at the time of the release only one suspect was still at large. Bulloch County Sheriff’s Capt. Todd Hutchens could not confirm Wednesday whether that lone suspect was Joyner.
A Mexican national, Natividad Dias, 38, also known as “Nat,” “Nate,” “Amigo” or “Huevos,” is among the 20 individuals, all Statesboro-area residents, charged with “multiple counts of trafficking in methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. Others also are charged with possession of firearms by convicted felons,” Christine said in the released statement.
“The multi-agency investigation began in 2015 as a result of citizen complaints about drug-trafficking activities and violent crime in Screven County and surrounding communities, including an unsolved homicide case,” he said.
In the statement, Screven County Sheriff Mike Kile is quoted saying the investigation also involved the unsolved murder of Lisa Scott and the missing persons case of Travis Tankersley.
Scott was killed in a Cooperville area fire that was ruled as arson in October 2017. Tankersley has been missing from Screven County since August 2016.
“This multi-agency joint investigation was initiated following the large volume of citizen complaints about illegal drug activity in Screven County and surrounding area,” as well as the murder and missing persons case, he said.
In addition to Dias and Joyner, other suspects indicted are: John Timothy Collins, 48; John Kenneth Joyner, 47; Palmer Alton Bazemore II, 51; Cassie Jo Barbee, 36; Jaime Elton Newsome, 39 and Megan Nicole Bazemore, 30.
Also, Christina Elizabeth Davis, 32; Derrick Riggs, 42; Quinn Cullen Neal, 32; Dylan Anthony Davis, 26; Gary Paul Joyner, 51; Monica Isabell Jimenez, 22; Zackary Allen Durrence, 26; Jonathan Travis Oliver, 36; Michael Shane Bishop, 44; Jonathon Evan Oglesby, 27; Alfred Anthony Woods, 28 and Noah Quinn Pope, 25.
Addresses for the suspects were unavailable, but the release stated they are all from the Statesboro area.
These charges arose from a joint operation of federal agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
State agencies involved include the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.
Local law enforcement agencies involved were sheriff’s offices of Screven, Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins, and Chatham counties, as well as the Sylvania and Claxton police departments.
Assistant United States Attorney Marcela C. Mateo is prosecuting the case for the United States.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.