CLINTON—In an unprecedented case, 42 people, including many Anderson County residents, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges they conspired to make 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
U.S. Attorney William C. Killian announced the charges during a Tuesday afternoon press conference at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton.
Other charges listed in a 17-count indictment filed March 19 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville include possessing the equipment, chemicals, products, and materials used to make meth; maintaining homes used to manufacture the illegal stimulant, including one residence within 1,000 feet of Claxton Elementary School; and federal firearms violations.
All the defendants face the conspiracy charge, which carries a prison sentence of between 10 years and life, as well as a fine of up to $10 million, and a term of supervised release of no less than five years.
“This is a far-reaching conspiracy in Anderson and Knox counties,” said Killian, joined onstage by 13 law enforcement officers from federal, state, and local agencies.
The federal indictment alleges the conspiracy began about January 2004 and continued through March 19. Killian said authorities began arresting the suspects Thursday, and between five and eight of them are still at large.
Authorities wouldn’t comment on many of the details of the case, including the amount of meth seized or the method used to make it, or to explain the conspiracy.
All of those arrested so far remain in state and federal custody, Killian said.
Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark said the investigation started last year.
Although local and federal authorities frequently work together, Clark said, this case was unprecedented because of the large number of people indicted by a federal grand jury and the large conspiracy allegedly involved.
Law enforcement officials said the sentences are tougher in federal cases. Someone convicted of a felony in Tennessee has to serve at least 30 percent of their sentence, Clark said. But someone convicted of a felony in a federal case has to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence, he said.
Those indicted include residents of Andersonville, Caryville, Clinton, Gallatin, Harriman, Heiskell, Knoxville, Lake City, Maryville, Oliver Springs, Powell, and Washburn.
Homes alleged to have been used to manufacture meth include residences at 407 Hollingsworth Circle and 343 Blacksferry Road in Anderson County, and 121 Lucas Ridge Lane, which is within 1,000 feet of Claxton Elementary School, according to the indictment.
Killian said the investigation was a joint effort between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Drug Task Force, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville Police Department, Oak Ridge Police Department, the Seventh Judicial Crime Task Force, and the Clinton Police Department.
The indictment was part of “Operation Meth-odical Destruction,” which is designed to address methamphetamine-related crime in Anderson and Knox counties, with efforts led by local and state law enforcement agencies, Killian said.
Here is a list of those indicted:
- Lawrence Wilbur Scriver, also known as “Stoney,” 45, of Lake City;
- Stephen Michael Conner, 46, of Knoxville;
- Christopher Ray Farmer, 51, of Clinton;
- Thomas Gene Wright, a.k.a. Tommy Wright, 40, of Lake City;
- Shaun Jeffery Williams, a.k.a. “Cowboy,” 26, of Heiskell;
- Crystal Gail Barnes, a.k.a. Crystal Plemons, 36, of Powell;
- Layla Leigh Bean, 32, of Powell;
- Jeffrey Scott Braden, 36, of Lake City;
- Lisa Charlene Bullock, a.k.a. Lisa Taylor Bullock, 36, of Powell;
- Kevin Jason Ingram, 41, of Clinton;
- Derrick Ray Farmer, 33, of Clinton;
- Ron Walter Austin, 36, of Andersonville;
- Brandy Danielle Braden, 30, of Lake City;
- Cassaundria Nichole Sweat, a.k.a. Cassaundra Sweat, 27, of Clinton;
- Ronnie Gene Murphy, 41, of Knoxville;
- James Edward Bean II, 32, of Oliver Springs;
- Marty Lynn Ivy, 37, of Heiskell;
- Shinna Marie Rutherford, 33, of Caryville;
- Kimberly Frances Baker, 24, of Maryville;
- Aaron James Burress, 32, of Clinton;
- Junior Lee Phillips, 58, of Clinton;
- Shannon Marie Ruffner, 28, of Lake City;
- Aaron Wayne Snelson, 30, of Clinton;
- Sheena Jean Snow, 26, of Powell;
- Timothy Scott Stewart, a.k.a. “Bodine,” 41, of Powell;
- Kasey Dawn Miller, 33, of Lake City;
- Breanne Angela Leighton, a.k.a. Bree, 22, of Lake City;
- Gregory Jason McCollum, 37, of Harriman;
- Allison Nicole Miller, 27, of Clinton;
- Donny Lee McGhee, 41, of Lake City;
- Jonathan Richard McQueen, 23, of Gallatin;
- James Perry Phillips, 33, of Lake City;
- Joseph Hunter Jacobs, 23, of Clinton;
- Michael Lee Jackson, 33, of Oliver Springs;
- James Delaney Bazzoon, 33, of Knoxville;
- Justin Michael Ford, 26, of Lake City;
- Junelle Elaine Jerrell, a.k.a. Debbie McGee, Debbie Levon McGhee, 60, of Lake City;
- Stacey Yvette Jett, 44, of Knoxville;
- Jessica Ruth Davis, 28, of Knoxville;
- Brandy Nicole Grahl, 29, of Heiskell;
- Walter James Lee Griffith, 30, of Powell; and
- Lindsey Shawntae Bailey, 25, of Washburn.
Note: This story was updated at 9:51 a.m. March 27.