Ramone Shirley
Photo: Georgia Department of Corrections
Photo: Georgia Department of Corrections

Drug trafficker ‘Big Play Ray’ sentenced to 7 years in federal prison

Repeat offender caught with heroin, guns

An Atlanta felon will return to federal prison for seven years for possessing heroin, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Friday. 

Ramone Shirley, 44, had nearly 200 grams of heroin and two firearms in his possession when officers arrested him in 2018, U.S. Attorney BJay Pak said. Shirley, known on the streets as “Big Play Ray,” was convicted in April after pleading guilty to the latest charges. 

“Repeat offenders like Shirley pose a serious threat to public safety,” Pak said in a news release. “Their continual return to criminal activity represents a lack of fear of consequences for their actions. Citizens deserve safety and a drug-free community.”

RELATED: 5-time felon sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for having gun

According to investigators, Shirley distributed three kilograms of cocaine to another drug dealer inside his Atlanta shop in June 2016. Shirley previously owned Flair Auto Repair and Towing on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, according to the Georgia Secretary of State's online business database. The cocaine was seized by the Georgia State Patrol during a traffic stop, and DEA and Homeland Security Investigations agents eventually identified Shirley as the cocaine source, Pak said. 

After further investigation, agents arrested Shirley at his home on charges of distributing the cocaine seized in the 2016 traffic stop. During the arrest, they found a kilo-press, a money counter, nearly 200 grams of heroin and two loaded firearms, including one with an extended magazine, Pak said. Agents also found parts of a kilo-press at Shirley’s shop, and his phone had videos of him waving vacuum-sealed bundles of cash, according to investigators. 

After his conviction, Shirley had to forfeit his boat, truck, two Harley-Davidson motorcycles and cash, the U.S. Attorney said. Shirley was also sentenced to four years of supervised release after serving his prison time. 

Shirley has twice been in state prison for armed robbery and aggravated assault, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections. He was in prison from March 1994 until December 2000 and again from February to August 2007, the department said. 

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