Couple sentenced in trafficking

ATLANTA - A Snellville couple was sentenced Thursday to federal prison after pleading guilty in November to drug and weapon charges.

United States District Judge Richard W. Story sentenced 40-year-old Steven Spigner to 30 years and his wife, Yojuana, 31, to three years for their parts in what prosecutors called a multi-state drug trafficking organization that "utilized weapons in furtherance of the drug trafficking and money laundering."

Yojuana Spigner pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony in connection with her husband's operation, which investigators said has been going on since at least 1999.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said Steven Spigner distributed at least 1,000 kilograms of cocaine in South Carolina, Washington, D.C. and the Baltimore area. Nahmias said the operation was based in Gwinnett County and that Spigner laundered the drug money through a shell corporation, Spigner Investment Group Inc.

Numerous carriers, investigators said, distributed the cocaine and "utilized various weapons in the daily operations of their drug trade."

Investigators said Spigner's assets totaled "at least $1,000,000," including at least five homes in Georgia and South Carolina and several luxury vehicles including a 2006 BMW 750Li, a 2007 Mercedes-Benz S550 and a 2004 Bentley GT.

These properties and vehicles, along with an undisclosed amount of cash, were seized as part of the case, according to a news release.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Atlanta field division and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and was assisted by the Orangeburg, S.C. Department of Public Safety. It was prosecuted by U.S. Attorneys Scott Hulsey and Dahil Goss.

Gregory K. Gant of the ATF said armed drug traffickers "deserve to be hit with the full weight of federal gun, drug and forfeiture statutes," and called Spigner "a very deserving defendant."

Nahmias said the combination of drugs and guns is a deadly one.

"People who push drugs also push violence whenever it suits them," he said.