Ceremony recognizes teamwork of local police in busting drug ring
By Rain Smith
Published December 18th, 2012 6:04 pm
A Tuesday afternoon ceremony at the Justice Center in Blountville recognized several local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, lauding their teamwork during a four-year, multi-jurisdictional investigation of a Detroit-based gang trafficking drugs into our region.
The cases were first publicly announced during a May 2011 press conference, at which time indictments had been handed down to 23 individuals in four states. On Tuesday Eastern District of Tennessee U.S. Attorney William Killian said 60 successful prosecutions have now been obtained with only one individual yet to be sentenced.
Killian categorized the gang at the head of the operations — known as 'Da Family' — as "the worst of the worst." He said they're responsible for trafficking into Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia more than 100,000 oxycodone pills and "kilos of cocaine" — while laundering in excess of $1 million.
Tuesday's press conference was called to thank area police agencies and prosecutors who contributed to the cases, which into the federal level with involvement from the FBI, IRS, DEA and ATF.
"It's essential this (cooperation) be done if were going to meet the challenges of the modern drug business," Killian said.
Certificates of appreciation from the Department of Justice were presented to Kingsport Police Chief Gale Osborne, Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson and Bristol, Tenn., Police Department Chief Blaine Wade, acknowledging the work of their agencies vice and special operations units.
Agents of the 2nd Judicial Drug Task Force, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Sullivan County District Attorney Barry Staubus were also presented with certificates of appreciation. Killian added that the Wise County Sheriff' Office and Big Stone Gap Police Department were integral to the cases, while Staubus thanked the work of Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Gene Perrin.
In February the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee stated the final five of the 27 defendants had pleaded guilty. They were identified as Rodney Allen Mitchell, 32, of Kingsport, Maurice William Gravely, 41, of Gray, Cedric D’Andre Mitchell, 22, of Big Stone Gap, Va., Rachel Nichole Goad, 34, of Kingsport, and Curtis Louis Prior, Jr., 35, of Kingsport. All reportedly pleaded guilty to charges relating to conspiracies to distribute oxycodone and marijuana, as well as money laundering.
The Department of Justice identified 22 additional individuals from Tennessee, Virginia, Florida and Michigan as previously pleading guilty: Jennifer Mitchell, 38, of Kingsport, Lloyd James Steed, Jr., 34, of Detroit, Mich.; Gilbert Miller, 42, Kingsport; James Howard Poole, Jr., 39, Kingsport; Jarian Hamler, 31, Jonesborough; Joshua Clark Martin, 29, Kingsport; Shawn James Banks, 40, Detroit, Mich.; Marquis Cornelius Taylor, 37, Miami, Fla.; Nekia Dwayne Clark, 35, Big Stone Gap, Va.; Allen Vaughn Crews, 37, Centerville, Va.; Justin Colby Vaughn, 36, Del Ray Beach, Fla.; Antwain Dwayne Hollinger, 33, Big Stone Gap, Va.; Adrian Jamal Cornette, 27, Wise County, Va.; Mose Devaughn White, 34, Johnson City; Duvale Pruitt, 37, Kingsport, Tenn.; Stephen Anthony Graham, 25, Johnson City; Stacy Montague White, 39, Kingsport; Keira Lashawn Moore, 29, Big Stone Gap, Va.; Semmaj Jarquis Taylor, 40, Dearfield Beach, Fla.; Dena Marie McGaughey, 39, Delray Beach, Fla.; Victoria Danielle Bays, Johnson City.