Man agrees to guilty plea in federal court in Unicoi drug-trafficking case

Brad Hicks • Sep 20, 2012 at 9:50 PM

GREENEVILLE — A second man facing federal charges for this alleged involvement in a drug-trafficking organization that allegedly saw a Unicoi business used as a front for cocaine distribution has agreed to a guilty plea, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Greeneville.

Juan Llamas-Gayton has agreed to enter a guilty plea to being an illegal alien in the U.S. after having previously been removed and not having obtained permission to apply for readmission, according to a plea agreement document filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greeneville.

The plea agreement states Llamas-Gayton faces up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a maximum of three years’ supervised release. The U.S. will move to dismiss Llamas-Gayton’s remaining charges at the time of sentencing and has agreed not to further prosecute him on “any non-tax criminal offenses” committed by him related to the charges contained in the federal indictment.

Llama-Gayton, along with Unicoi residents Carl Glass, Melissa Glass and Tyson Gene Silvers, was arrested on June 2 following an investigation conducted by the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department, with cooperation from the Erwin Police Department, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

According to documents previously filed in U.S. District Court, Carl Glass, at different points throughout the monthlong investigation into suspected drug trafficking taking place at the Valley Video and Trading Post, the Unicoi business owned by Carl Glass, sold cocaine to a confidential police source. Purchases were made in the presence of an undercover law enforcement officer, according to documents.

On the day those allegedly involved were arrested, Llamas-Gayton was to accompany Carl Glass to Atlanta to acquire more drugs for distribution, according to court documents. The vehicle the men left in was stopped on Interstate 26 by an officer with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

“(Glass) told investigators that he was driving Llamas-Gayton, who was a passenger in the vehicle, to Atlanta to purchase cocaine,” court documents pertaining to Glass’ case state.

On June 13, a federal grand jury indicted Llamas-Gayton on a cocaine distribution-related charge and being in the U.S. without having received necessary permission from the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General of the U.S. due to a prior deportation. According to the plea agreement document filed Wednesday, Llamas-Gayton, a citizen of Mexico, was deported from the U.S. in May 2004 following a September 2003 conviction in Texas of transporting illegal aliens into the country.

Llamas-Gayton is scheduled to formally enter the guilty plea at a hearing Monday at 9 a.m. in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. Last month, Glass pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense. He is scheduled for sentencing on March 18 in U.S. District Court in Greeneville.

The cases of Silvers and Melissa Glass on state charges are still pending in the Unicoi County Court system.

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