Vidalia man sentenced to federal prison for his role in major drug trafficking operation in Natchez area

Published 5:20 am Wednesday, November 16, 2022

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A Vidalia, Louisiana man was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge David C. Bramlette, III, to 14 months in federal prison for his participation in an interstate drug trafficking operation distributing kilogram quantities of illegal drugs in the Natchez area from 2016 through 2018.

Clifford Payne, Jr., 52, was indicted by a federal grand jury and subsequently pled guilty to use of a telephone in furtherance of a drug crime.

According to court records, Payne had several telephone conversations with Kevin Singleton to obtain cocaine from Singleton for further distribution. Kevin Singleton was sentenced in 2021 to serve 35 years in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute heroin; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

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Payne was previously convicted in 1987 in the Seventh Judicial District Court, Ferriday, Louisiana, of aggravated battery with a dangerous weapon, and in 1990 in the same jurisdiction he was convicted of receiving stolen property.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

This OCDETF case is the result of an extensive investigation targeting illegal narcotics distribution by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force in Atlanta, GA, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and the Pearl Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carla J. Clark prosecuted these cases.