Four people from Erwin were sentenced at a Wednesday hearing in U.S. District Court in Greeneville to a total of more than 25 years in prison for their involvement in a conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.
Tim Smith, 29, was sentenced to serve 92 months in prison. Crystal Williams, 40, was sentenced to serve 90 months. Misty Potter, 36, was sentenced to serve 66 months and Doug Gaskins, 53, was sentenced to serve 54 months.
Each of the four pleaded guilty to a March federal indictment charging 25 people with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. A release from U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said three additional but related conspiracies to manufacture methamphetamine cases from in and around the Erwin area were also recently prosecuted in U.S. District Court, resulting in the conviction of 52 individuals. Sentencing is currently pending for 17 of these individuals involved in these conspiracies, the release said.
Count one of the nine-count indictment charges that Smith, Williams, Potter and Gaskins, along with others, knowingly and intentionally conspired to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Smith, Potter and Gaskins were charged in three other separate counts with possession of chemicals and equipment used in methamphetamine manufacture.
“The methamphetamine manufacturing conspiracy that these individuals admitted to being a part of involved a network of overlapping associates that relied on coordinated efforts to procure methamphetamine precursors that they then used to make methamphetamine using a ‘shake and bake’ manufacturing method,” Killian’s release said. “The drugs the conspirators were responsible for making were being distributed both for profit and for use by people within the conspiracy.”
The indictment and convictions of those sentenced was the result of an “ongoing and collaborative” investigation conducted by the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Erwin Police Department, First Judicial District Drug Task Force, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration.
“I appreciate the efforts of all the law enforcement agencies coming together to rid this community of a large number of methamphetamine makers and users,” Killian said.
Local sheriffs also said they were appreciative of the efforts of those involved in the investigation.
“Law enforcement working together with the caring people of the community ... we are all making a difference,” Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal said in the release.
“This cooperative effort has dramatically reduced the overall drug problem in Unicoi County,” Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said. “We hope that these harsh sentences will serve as a deterrent for other individuals who are involved with manufacturing methamphetamine. Everyone involved in this investigation has done an extraordinary job to bring this to pass.”