Ex-pro baseball player sentenced to 5 years in prison for drug trafficking

Darren J. Driggers

Darren J. Driggers

A former professional baseball player from southeast Georgia will spend half a decade in federal prison for trafficking methamphetamine, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Darren J. Driggers, 26, of Bloomingdale, was sentenced to 57 months in prison on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances and for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Driggers was one of 43 defendants charged and one of 41 convicted in a drug investigation associated with the Ghost Face Gangsters, “a violent criminal street gang,” authorities said. The organization distributed crystal meth throughout South Georgia, according to a news release.

He was on probation when he was arrested for drug trafficking, so Driggers, also known as “eBay” for selling stolen goods via social media, will also serve time for that violation.

The investigation, known as Operation Vanilla Gorilla, was handled by multiple agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency, GBI, Savannah Police Department and Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, among others.

Since the federal system has no parole, Driggers will be on supervised release after he serves his sentence.

This wasn't the former Effingham County High School star's first encounter with drugs. Driggers, who was selected in the 22nd round of the Major League Baseball draft in 2012 by the Detroit Tigers, was suspended for 50 games the next year after failing a drug test. He was playing in the Gulf Coast League at the time.

“I decided I liked meth better than baseball,” police said Driggers told them.

The outfielder was released in January 2014.

“Driggers is just one of many victims whose lives have been destroyed because of meth,” Jamie Jones, special agent of the GBI Savannah office, said in the release. “However, Driggers made the decision to become a distributor of this poison, which in turn affected countless others. This was his downfall ... Fortunately for Driggers, he goes to prison and not the graveyard.”

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June 8, 2019