ERWIN — One of the four people arrested in June for their alleged involvement in a drug trafficking organization that officials said saw the sale of cocaine from a Unicoi business is set to be sentenced in March in U.S. District Court in Greeneville after formally pleading guilty to two drug and firearm-related charges.
Carl Glass, 911 Massachusetts Ave., Lot 3, Unicoi, appeared in U.S. District Court in Greeneville on Wednesday to plead 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. These represent two of the eight charges a federal grand jury indicted Glass on in June.
For his plea to the cocaine-related charge, Glass faces up to 20 years in prison, up to a $1 million fine and a minimum of three years to life on supervised release. For his plea on the firearms-related charge, Glass faces a minimum of five years to life in prison, which will be served consecutively with the sentence imposed on his other underlying offense, up to a $250,000 fine and up to three years on supervised release. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 18, and the U.S. has moved to dismiss Glass’ remaining charges at the time of sentencing. At Wednesday’s hearing, it was ordered that Glass be remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Glass, along with his wife Melissa R. Glass, Tyson Gene Silvers and a man later identified as Juan Llamas-Gayton were arrested following a Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department investigation into suspected drug trafficking taking place out of the Valley Video and Trading Post business owned by Carl Glass and located on Unicoi Drive.
According to a plea agreement document filed in U.S. District Court in Greeneville on Aug. 6, the sheriff’s department conducted an undercover operation on May 3 in which a confidential source who had previously arranged to purchase cocaine from Carl Glass was sent to Valley Video.
The document states that after being contacted by Melissa Glass to advise that the confidential source had arrived, Carl Glass arrived and entered the shop, where he conducted the cocaine transaction with the confidential source.
Through a different confidential source, the sheriff’s department was able to introduce an undercover investigator to Carl Glass. On May 16, the confidential source and undercover officer met Glass at his Unicoi home where he sold the confidential source two 40-milligram oxycodone tablets and advised he would deliver cocaine to the source at a later date, according to the plea agreement document.
The following day, the source met with Carl Glass in the parking lot of an Erwin service station where Glass sold the source 3.5 grams of cocaine, according to court documents.
Around two weeks later, the source and the undercover investigator met Glass at his residence, where the source again purchased cocaine from Glass and negotiated the future purchase of a firearm, documents state. In late May, the source, accompanied by the undercover investigator, again purchased cocaine from Glass at his residence, where Glass showed the source a gun similar to the one he would eventually be selling, according to the plea agreement. It was also that Llamas-Gayton invited the source to accompany him and Carl Glass on a trip to Atlanta to acquire more drugs, court documents state.
On June 1, the source again purchased cocaine from Glass at his residence, where Glass also loaned a loaded .45-caliber pistol to the undercover investigator for “protection,” the plea agreement states.
On June 2, the source met with Glass, his wife and Llamas-Gayton met and got into a vehicle to leave for Atlanta, according to documents. The vehicle was stopped on Interstate 26 by an officer with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
“Defendant told investigators that he was driving Llams-Gayton, who was a passenger in the vehicle, to Atlanta, Georgia, to purchase cocaine,” the plea agreement states.
Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Frank Rogers previously said a total of $9,037 was found on Carl Glass and Llams-Gayton. Rogers also said ammunition, firearm magazines and components used in the manufacture of methamphetamine were found at the Glass’ home.
Investigators also found that there was no power at the Valley Video store and that a cash register inside was not plugged in and contained no cash, Rogers said. Rogers said this corroborated a statement Carl Glass made during the course of the investigation in which he stated that the shop and a construction company he owned were a front and that he made money by selling drugs.
The plea agreement document states Carl Glass admitted to possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and taking part in drug activity during a sheriff’s department interview that followed his arrest.
“Defendant further stated that approximately two years ago, he started selling cocaine to support his drug habit,” the document states. “Defendant stated that he received approximately one ounce of cocaine per week for the last two years for $1,200 per ounce.”
Llamas-Gayton, who was indicted on cocaine distribution charges, is scheduled for trial on Oct. 4 in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. Melissa Glass, who was charged with facilitation of a felony, is scheduled to appear at a hearing today in Unicoi County Sessions Court. The case of Silvers, who was charged with conspiracy to sell cocaine for allegedly offering to watch the Valley Video store while Carl Glass was in Atlanta, has been bound over to a Unicoi County grand jury.