An Atlanta man was convicted of several charges in connection to an undercover operation into illegal guns and drug trafficking in Athens.
The U.S. Department of Justice says Robert Booker Sr., 44, is an armed criminal and a career offender. He faces a maximum lifetime of imprisonment for his crimes. His conviction follows a co-defendant who entered a guilty plea last week in the case.
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The Athens man was found guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute alprazolam, possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
The case began in 2016, when two FBI informants bought a .22 caliber rifle in Watkinsville from Booker’s co-defendant, Peter Deandra Lawrence, 47, of Athens.
On Aug. 11, Lawrence pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm.
Lawrence faces a minimum of 15 years up to a maximum lifetime in prison for his crime. Lawrence worked out a deal to buy the gun from co-defendant Gerrick Lanier Cooper, 47, of Watkinsville over his cellphone in front of the informants and retrieved the gun from Cooper to give to the informants at the close of the deal.
Lawrence has previously been convicted of aggravated battery, burglary and possession with intent to distribute cocaine in both state and federal courts.
According to the release, Cooper admitted that he sold several quantities of cocaine to the informants three separate times in January 2017 at his Athens home.
Cooper, a convicted felon with a prior federal conviction for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, was indicted in this case on July 14, 2020, and a firearm was retrieved at this home when agents executed a search warrant.
In September 2019, a Georgia State Patrol pulled over a car with Lawrence driving and Booker in the front passenger seat. Lawrence was driving on a suspended license. He had an outstanding warrant from Athens-Clarke County.
As the trooper was dealing with Lawrence, Booker tried to hide a large amount of methamphetamine and alprazolam under the car, the release stated. The drugs under the car were found and seized by officials.
As the trooper searched the car, they seized two pounds of marijuana, oxycodone packaged for illegal distribution and a pistol in the glove box. Booker has a lengthy criminal history which includes convictions for obstruction of an officer and three prior serious drug offenses.
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Cooper pleaded guilty to distribution of cocaine on May 11. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison to be followed by at least three years of supervised release and a $1,000,000 fine.
Sentencing has not been scheduled for any of the defendants.
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