DOC Inmate, Frankie Baza Faces Max 20-Year Federal Sentence For Conducting Large Meth Deals From Prison
ATHENS, GA (STL.News) An inmate in the Georgia Department of Corrections system has pleaded guilty to conspiritng to distribute methamphetamine from prison, said Peter D. Leary, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
Frankie Baza, 33, of Flowery Brance, Georgia, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine before U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal on February 24, 2021. Baza faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release and a $1,000,000 fine. A sentencing date is scheduled for May 6, 2021. There is no parole in the federal system.
Law enforcement officers in Athens-Clarke County developed a Cooperating Source (CS) in January 2019 that explained Baza was its source of meth since 2018. Baza was an inmate in the Georgia Department of Corrections who used contraband cell phones to connect customers with his associates to distribute methamphetamine. On January 10, 2019, the CS placed a call to Baza and ordered a large amount of methamphetamine. Baza directed the CS to a Homewood Suites in Metro Atlanta to meet Baza’s associate, who would conduct the drug transaction as directed by Baza. Under surveillance, agents observed Baza’s associate walk to the parking lot carrying a bag to meet the CS as planned. The associate was taken into custody and a legal search of the motel room resulted in the seizure of a large amount of methamphetamine, more than two ounces of heroin, a cell phone and a shotgun. The associate admitted to renting the room and distributing the methamphetamine and heroin. Baza now admits he conspired to direct the distribution of one kilogram of methamphetamine mixture.
“Prisoners using contraband cell phones to direct criminal activities from behind bars will face severe consequences in the federal system, where there is no parole,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Leary. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and bring to justice those inmates who brazenly disregard the law, putting both our communities and the prison community where they are housed in danger.”
“Keeping criminals like this drug trafficker behind bars is not only an accomplishment for law enforcement, but a victory for the community,” said the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Filed Division Robert J. Murphy. “Mr. Baza can no longer ‘push’ dangerous drugs while on the streets or while serving time in prison. This guilty plea was possible because of unified law enforcement cooperation.”
The case was investigated by the DEA and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Tamara Jarrett is prosecuting the case for the Government. Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, U.S. Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Officer (Contractor), U.S. Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.