A federal grand jury in Greeneville returned a 16-count indictment last week charging 21 individuals, the majority of whom are from Unicoi County and all of whom are from communities in northeast Tennessee, with methamphetamine-related charges.
Among the charges in the indictment, which was returned Sept. 11, are conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine; conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; distribution of methamphetamine; possession of equipment, chemicals and materials for manufacturing methamphetamine; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
Those indicted were:
Joseph Bob Banner, 33, Erwin.
Brandon Michael Beals, 21, Erwin.
Robert Charles Bennett, 35, Johnson City.
Stacy Glen Black, 41, Erwin.
Jason Anthony Briggs, 33, Flag Pond.
Jeffrey Ray Casey, 33, Washington County.
Clinton Cody Cooper, 26, Erwin.
Lisa Engle Effler, 41, Erwin.
Ray Charles English, 20, Erwin.
Timothy Shaun Franklin, 34, Erwin.
David Edward Gardner, Unicoi.
Donnie Lynn Hensley, 39, Erwin.
Jarrod Allen Hicks, 31, Unicoi.
Jerry Wayne Howell, 45, Erwin.
Autumn Michelle McKinney, 25, Elizabethton.
Samuel McCoy Sanders III, 35, Jonesborough.
Brian Stacey Smith, 39, Johnson City.
Daniel Scott Smith, 38, Erwin.
Michael Travis Smith, 37, Erwin.
George Richard Thomas Jr., 29, Erwin.
Spencer Jay Yates, 35, Jonesborough.
“Local, state and federal law enforcement agents executed warrants early on September 17, 2012, and took many of these individuals into custody,” a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Tennessee announcing the indictments said.
According to the release, those apprehended made their initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Monday and more arrests are expected. The release states that, if convicted, those charged with manufacturing and distribution conspiracies face a minimum term of 10 years, up to life, in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.
Those charged with distribution of methamphetamine face a term of not more than 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and at least three years of supervised release. Individuals charged with possession of equipment, chemicals or other materials for manufacturing methamphetamine face a term of not more than 20 years in prison, a fine of $1 million and at least three years supervised release.
Those charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense face a mandatory five-year prison sentence to run consecutively to the sentence on the underlying offense.
“This indictment was the result of an ongoing, intensive and coordinated multi-agency investigation designed to combat a growing problem of ‘one pot’ or ‘shake and bake’ methamphetamine manufacturing rings operating in northeast Tennessee,” the release said.