Johnson City Press: UPDATE: Former Mountain City police lieutenant sentenced to 37 months in federal prison
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UPDATE: Former Mountain City police lieutenant sentenced to 37 months in federal prison

Becky Campbell • Updated Mar 20, 2018 at 6:35 PM

UPDATED 2:02 p.m.

A former Mountain City Police lieutenant will serve more than three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to distributing and taking narcotics while on duty.

Ronald Glen Shupe, 44, of Butler, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. He pleaded guilty in November as part of an agreement with prosecutors to charges of possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone, a schedule II controlled substance, and the use of a firearm during and related to a drug trafficking offense.

“Law enforcement officers are sworn to protect the public and uphold the law. The U.S Attorney’s office will prosecute vigorously those that choose to violate that trust by committing crimes, especially while on duty and in uniform,” J. Douglas Overbey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, said in a news release.

A two-count federal criminal complaint charged Shupe with possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone and possession of a firearm that had been shipped and transported by interstate commerce. Those charges stem from an undercover operation where another informant, identified as CW3 in court records, made plans to meet Shupe for an exchange of drugs.

Court records show text and Facebook messages between the two about the transaction. Shupe was under surveillance when he met with CW3, who was wearing a wire. After the informant gave Shupe oxycodone pills, which Shupe paid for, the officer was arrested.

His arrest led to the arrest of another Mountain City officer. Sgt. Ken Lane, 61, was taken into custody Nov. 9, 2017, within hours of a Johnson County grand jury indicting him on charges of:

  Conspiracy to possess schedule II drugs (oxycodone) with intent to deliver in a school zone.
  Solicitation to commit delivery of schedule II drugs (oxycodone).
  Simple possession of schedule II drugs (methamphetamine).

Shupe was also served with a presentment returned by a Johnson County grand jury charging him with:

  Possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.
  Possession of schedule II drugs (oxycodone) with intent to deliver in a school zone.
  Conspiracy to possess schedule II drugs (oxycodone) with intent to deliver in a school zone.
  Solicitation to commit assault.
  Accessory after the fact.
  Release of confidential information.
  Casual exchange of schedule VI drugs (marijuana).
  Simple possession of schedule II drugs (methamphetamine).
  Theft of property over $1,000 (marijuana).
  Three counts of official misconduct.

The charges against Lane stemmed from information authorities obtained while investigating Shupe, according to federal court records. Investigators apparently discovered Shupe’s drug activities while interviewing a woman jailed in North Carolina on drug charges in June. She told Johnson County Sheriff’s Office investigators that Shupe provided her with methamphetamine several times and they did the drug together in his patrol car while Shupe was on duty.

After that initial interview, investigators obtained a transcript of Facebook messages between the woman and Shupe. The messages did not contain blatant admissions of drug use, but there were descriptions and terms used that led investigators to believe the two were discussing obtaining and using methamphetamine.

The investigation led officers to obtain text messages between another confidential informant and an account registered to Shupe. Those exchanges also led investigators to believe Shupe was buying narcotics, not just for himself but also for Lane.

The Johnson County charges against Lane and Shupe are still pending.

Renae McDermott, FBI special agent in charge, Knoxville Division said, “Citizens have the right to expect that law enforcement officers act legally and in accordance with the law. The FBI is committed to ensuring that all violations of the law are aggressively investigated.”

Agencies involved in this investigation included the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, First Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and Johnson County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gunn represented the United States in court proceedings.

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Previously reported:

A former Mountain City Police lieutenant will serve more than three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to distributing and taking narcotics while on duty.

Ronald Glen Shupe, 44, of Butler, was sentenced Monday. He had entered the plea agreement to possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, and the use of a firearm during and relation to a drug trafficking offense, just two weeks after his Nov. 6, 2017, arrest in an undercover drug investigation.

“Law enforcement officers are sworn to protect the public and uphold the law. The U.S Attorney’s office will prosecute vigorously those that choose to violate that trust by committing crimes, especially while on duty and in uniform,” J. Douglas Overbey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, said in a news release.

Related: Former Mountain City officer Ken Lane arrested on federal weapons charge; fellow officer Ron Shupe set for federal drug plea Dec. 6

 

Editor’s note:  The headline was corrected to reflect the sentence was 37 months instead of years.

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