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Four plead guilty in meth trafficking case

LAWRENCEVILLE — Four street-level methamphetamine dealers pleaded guilty to drug charges Monday as part of a massive meth trafficking indictment, with two more expected to do so today, officials said.

The result of a 2008-09 wiretap investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Agency and initially aimed at alleged high-profile meth and cocaine dealer Jose Hernandez, the trafficking trial of seven defendants was scheduled to begin Monday in Gwinnett Superior Court, Assistant District Attorney Nigel Lush said.

Instead, three defendants — Wesley Thomas, Phillip Hadaway and Jeffrey Eugene Sanders — pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. Michael Lee Mosley pleaded guilty to trafficking methamphetamine after he sold two ounces of the drug to an undercover agent, Lush said.

“In the food chain of the drug trafficking world, they were essentially the bottom feeders,” Lush said.

Two more defendants in the case — Leigh Anne Haney and Vickie Lynn Heck — are expected to plead guilty today, Lush said.

The trial of William D. Bailey was continued on Monday.

Originally indicted for trafficking, the lesser conspiracy charges were in play because none of Monday’s defendants were caught with large quantities of the drug. Their arrests and indictments were based on intercepted phone conversations in which they were attempting to purchase drugs from Hernandez, Lush said.

Other defendants in the large-scale case have been sentenced to anywhere between two and 10 years in jail for similar charges, he said.

The original indictment in the case included 19 defendants. If Haney and Heck plead guilty today, 16 of those individual cases will be closed, officials said.