KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - September 02, 2015 - A federal grand jury in Knoxville returned a 32-count indictment on July 21, 2015, against 36 individuals involved in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, a conspiracy to launder money, and numerous firearms offenses. Those indicted include:
Martin Kenneth Wheeler, Jr., 50, of Tucker, Ga.;
Abigail B. Thompson, 46, of Whitesburg, Tenn.;
Stephen L. Maness, 46, of Maryville, Tenn.;
Scottie R. Gray-Stephens, 40, of Knoxville, Tenn.;
Glenn M. Tegeler, 48, of Lawrenceville, Ga.;
Richard J. Corbett, III, 27, of Strawberry Plains, Tenn.;
Thomas O’Neil Moore, 25, of Molena, Ga.;
Tracey D. Dugger, 30, of Morristown, Tenn.;
Alexander E. Penley, 36, of Greeneville, Tenn.;
Juan C. Solis, 38, of Rutledge, Tenn.;
Joshua K. Guthry, 27, of Chuckey, Tenn.;
Clint L. Epps, 35, of Knoxville, Tenn.;
Randall Logan Crawford, 25, of Jacksboro, Tenn.;
Lawrence H. Bond, Jr., 53, of Morristown, Tenn.;
Jason M. Hammond, 28, of Heiskell, Tenn.;
Matthew Todd Bryant, 40, of Knoxville, Tenn.;
Cindy D. Davis, 41, of Morristown, Tenn.;
Christopher D. Barrett, 38, of Newport, Tenn.;
Lext A. Dienst, 40, of Morristown, Tenn.;
Christopher W. Visser, 39, of New Market, Tenn.;
Jason D. Lowery, 37, of Knoxville, Tenn.;
Nathan S. James, 23, of Mooresburg, Tenn.;
John R. Fields, 42, of Morristown, Tenn.;
Steven M. Watkins, 60, of Knoxville, Tenn.;
Brady Thompson, 49, of Soddy Daisy, Tenn.;
Brandon S. Estes, 21, of Russellville, Tenn.;
Joshua M. Lynn, 26, of Maryville, Tenn.;
Eric C. Henson, 32, of Morristown, Tenn.; and,
Eduardo Rivera Gattorno, 48, of Chattanooga, Tenn.
All of these individuals appeared in court between July 28, 2015, and September 1, 2015, before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley and pleaded not guilty to the charges in the indictment.
Documents on file with the U.S. District Court Clerk detail the charges against these individuals and reveal that they were obtaining crystal methamphetamine, or ICE, from near the Atlanta area and transporting it back to the Eastern District of Tennessee for distribution.
If convicted, all face a minimum and mandatory term of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life, a maximum fine of $10,000,000.00, and a term of supervised release of at least five years. All also face mandatory court assessments.
This indictment is the result of a multi-agency investigation including the Knoxville Police Department, LaFollette Police Department, White Pine Police Department, Morristown Police Department, Third Judicial Drug Task Force, Fourth Judicial Drug Task Force, Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force, Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office, Gordon County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office, Sevier County Street Crimes Unit, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service, and Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Caryn L. Hebets will represent the United States.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was a result of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.
The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.