Alabama meth trafficking ring leader gets 31-year prison sentence

Published 11:45 am Friday, April 28, 2023

A federal judge Thursday sentenced the leader of a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy based in Calhoun County, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson.

U.S. District Court Judge R. David Proctor sentenced Antonio Franchester Orr, aka Lil T, aka Tony, 47, of Eastaboga, to 372 months in prison.

In January 2023, Orr pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine and attempt to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, along with fifty-five counts of use of a telephone to commit a drug trafficking crime.

According to the plea agreement, Orr coordinated with a Mexican source of supply, using a broker out of an Alabama state prison, to obtain methamphetamine and other controlled substances and distribute them in the Calhoun County area. According to plea documents, Orr was responsible for possessing or attempting to possess over 30 kilograms of methamphetamine, and overseeing the distribution of various other substances, including cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. Over the course of the investigation, agents seized over 20 kilograms of methamphetamine, 1 kilogram of cocaine, multiple firearms, and bulk currency from members from Orr and other members of his drug trafficking organization.

“Armed drug traffickers will go to extreme lengths to profit from deadly drugs with no regard to the pain and devastation they cause our communities, and we will not tolerate it,” said U.S. Attorney Escalona. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to target individuals who illegally possess firearms and push illegal and dangerous drugs in our communities.”

“This outstanding collaboration between federal and local law enforcement agencies illustrates the continuing unified goal to keeping our community safe,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Thorne-James. “We are committed to investigating drug trafficking organizations that profit from the distribution of methamphetamine and other illegal and dangerous narcotics. The sentence imposed should be a warning to those thinking of polluting our communities with these addictive substances.

“The ATF worked collaboratively and tirelessly with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to arrest and charge the members of this criminal organization,” said ATF SAC Watson. “We will continue to use all of our resources to disrupt the illegal possession of firearms, distribution of narcotics, and other acts of violence within the communities that we serve.”

A total of 11 defendants have pleaded guilty to charges in the indictment returned in July 2022. The indictment was a result of a year-long Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) investigation into the drug-trafficking enterprise based in Calhoun County. The task force identified acts in furtherance of the conspiracy committed by members of the organization over a period of six months. Six of the defendants have now been sentenced, and five remaining defendants await sentencing.

The DEA and the ATF investigated the case, along with assistance from the Anniston Police Department, Oxford Police Department, 7th Judicial Circuit Major Crimes Unit, Calhoun County District Attorney’s Office, Talladega County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, Pell City Police Department, West Alabama Narcotics Task Force, Blount County Sheriff’s Department, and the Alabama National Guard Joint Counter Drug Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allison Garnett and Blake Milner are prosecuting the case.