GREENEVILLE — The Third Judicial District Drug Task Force recently received an award from the board of the Tennessee Narcotic Officers Association, marking the third award the DTF has received in the last four years.
Pictured with the award are the board members of the 3rd DTF — Greeneville Police Chief Tim Ward, Hawkins Co. Sheriff Ronnie Lawson, Surgoinsville Police Chief James Hammonds, Greene Co. Sheriff Wesley Holt, and Hancock Co. Sheriff Brad Brewer.
The award was given to the DTF for its work in a large methamphetamine conspiracy case. The above agencies (board members), the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms all supplied valuable resources including their patrol, detective, and special operations divisions during the prosecution of this case.
The 3rd DTF wishes to thank and share this award with the above named partners we couldn’t do this type of work without their tremendous support.
In early 2016 local and federal law enforcement partnered to undertake an investigation into a methamphetamine distribution network that distributed multiple kilogram quantities of methamphetamine weekly in and around the Greene County area. This drug trafficking organization obtained large quantities of high-purity methamphetamine that was brought into the United States by drug suppliers south of the border. Most often the flow of the drug went through Atlanta, Georgia, and was then trafficked into Greene and Hawkins Counties.
The conspiracy was comprised of two overlapping enterprises that had separate primary sources of supply; however, many of the conspirators were, at various times, supplied by both supply chains. The supplier ran a business that functioned as a money laundering front for the DTO. he DTO supplied scores of local drug dealers that became prolific meth traffickers. The other primary supply chain was connected to suppliers, who facilitated the enterprise from inside the prison system in Georgia.
The largest phase of the investigation reached its pinnacle in July, 2018 when agents were able to order a half-kilogram of methamphetamine from supplier and then followed him to his stash house. On July 31, 2018, agents executed search warrants at supplier business and stash house. Agents recovered kilograms of methamphetamine, and marijuana, several grams of cocaine, and five guns.
Two related indictments were returned charging a total of 25 co-conspirators with crimes related to their involvement in distributing methamphetamine, firearms charges, and money laundering. The larger of the indictments (22) charged the supplier and a network of his more recent distributors. The secondary indictment cleaved off several distributors who were sourced by the supplier during an earlier phase of the conspiracy.
In January, 2019 a Superseding Indictment was returned in the case adding others bringing the total number of defendants indicted in this operation to 27. In total, the operation has seized over 10 kilograms of methamphetamine, 41 kilograms of marijuana, a half-kilo of cocaine, and 36 firearms. Many of the most problematic meth defendants are facing prison sentences of between 10-25 years.