Originally created 06/20/02

Man sentenced over drug dealing



An Augusta man with a history of drug charges received a 14-year prison sentence Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Rodricgus F. Maxwell, 26, had faced a minimum of 20 years behind bars, but the federal prosecutor filed a motion asking the judge to go below the strict sentencing guidelines.

"You've been in court more than some lawyers have been," U.S. District Chief Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. said to Mr. Maxwell. The judge also warned him that if he commits another federal crime, he would be considered a career criminal and subjected to a life sentence. In the federal system, there is no parole.

Mr. Maxwell was only months into a 20-year state probation sentence for trafficking in cocaine when he was arrested again, authorities said, with cocaine.

Indicted on federal drug trafficking charges that carry harsh penalties and learning that his probation was changed into a 20-year prison sentence, Mr. Maxwell pleaded guilty and began cooperating with investigators.

On Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Garcia filed the motion asking the judge to reduce Mr. Maxwell's sentence, saying that Mr. Maxwell was helpful in the capture of an unnamed fugitive.

Mr. Garcia said he expects to return to the judge on Mr. Maxwell's behalf after "one of the August trials." One of those scheduled trials is for former narcotics agent Ralph Tyrone Williams and former Richmond County sheriff's deputy Joseph Ellick. Both have pleaded innocent to charges including drug offenses and conspiracy.

Judge Bowen said Mr. Maxwell will serve his federal prison sentence simultaneously with his state prison sentence. When he is released from prison, Mr. Maxwell will be on supervised released, a federal form of probation, for 10 years.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or shodson@augustachronicle.com.