From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
TUSCALOOSA — A federal judge sentenced the leader of a drug ring trafficking methamphetamine and cocaine in Tuscaloosa County to 25 years in prison Thursday, according to a release by U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Gerido and West Alabama Narcotics Task Force Captain Phil Simpson.
U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced Santony Markei Noland, 32, also known as “Santony Markies Noland,” “San T” and “Black,” on one count of conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine between December 2016 and March 2017, and on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Noland pleaded guilty to the charges in July.
Noland, of Tuscaloosa, is one of 10 defendants, all of whom have pleaded guilty to charges related to the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Three of the defendants remain to be sentenced.
“Multiple law enforcement agencies came together in this investigation and successfully took down an established cocaine- and methamphetamine-trafficking organization in the Tuscaloosa area,” Town said. “This is an outstanding example of how robust partnerships between every level of law enforcement enables the dismantling of drug smuggling organizations and reduces the availability of illegal narcotics in our communities.”
“ATF, along with its partners, work diligently to protect the public from senseless acts of violence,” Gerido said. “ATF will remain vigilant as we engage with the community and foster a safe environment. Support from the public is crucial and the reporting of illegal activity is encouraged through ATF’s report it phone app.”
“We were glad to be able to partner with the ATF to get this violent drug offender off the streets,” Simpson said.
Noland has multiple felony convictions in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court and a prior federal felony conviction from the Northern District of Alabama for being a felon in possession of a firearm on a previous occasion.
The ATF, WANTF and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case. The task force is composed of officers from the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the Tuscaloosa, Northport and University of Alabama police departments, and the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Felton is prosecuting the case.