To confront the methamphetamine epidemic plaguing counties in East Tennessee, the Methamphetamine Task Force began in 1999 as a small group law enforcement agencies working together. Since then it has grown to an organization that encompasses all 95 counties in the state. All local law enforcement agencies are members of the Task Force, as well as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and all three of the United States Attorney’s Offices in Tennessee. The task force has trained and equipped thousands of officers to respond to and decontaminate clandestine methamphetamine laboratory sites, provided intelligence and information to strategically target the most serious methamphetamine offender, and provided outreach and education to the general public about the dangers of methamphetamine.
Working with the Methamphetamine and Prescription Drug Task Force and its partners the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee has prosecuted over 1,000 methamphetamine offenders in federal court, and helped to eliminate thousands of pounds of this drug from our communities. Some of the recent methamphetamine and prescription drug cases prosecuted by our office include:
- Vernon Luke Bowser, 46, of Gray, Tenn., was sentenced by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Court Judge, to serve 240 months in prison for his role in a methamphetamine manufacturing conspiracy. Bowser was one of 20 individuals indicted in January 2012 for conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine.
- Roger Tristan Johnson, 34, of Johnson City, Tenn., was sentenced to serve 235 months in prison by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Judge. Johnson pleaded guilty to an August 2010 federal indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of oxycodone pills. Also charged in the conspiracy were Diane Elizabeth Campbell, 27 of Elizabethton, Tenn.; Tommy Thomas Nicholas, 45 of Gray, Tenn.; Joshua Paul Arnett, 26 of Gray, Tenn.; and Austin Tanner Wood, 20 of Sullivan County, Tenn. Arnett was charged with distribution of a quantity of oxycodone pills. Campbell and Nicholas were charged with interstate travel with intent to promote, manage, establish, carry on and facilitate the promotion, management, establishment, or carrying on, of a business enterprise involving narcotics or controlled substances. All have been convicted and are awaiting sentencing.
- A total of 14 individuals from Eastern Tennessee, Northern Georgia and Western North Carolina have been arrested for various violations of federal drug and firearms laws. All are alleged to be part of a large methamphetamine trafficking organization operating in Tennessee and Georgia.
- Tamral S. Guzman, 42, of Blount County, Tenn., was sentenced to serve 258 months in federal prison by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee. This sentence was the result of her August 2012 trial conviction of multiple drug, money laundering and structuring offenses, contained in a 57-count indictment, as well as her guilty plea in January 2013 to a charge of failure to appear.
- Forty-two individuals, many of whom reside in Anderson County, were indicted by a federal grand jury for various charges relating to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine. In addition to manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine, the charges also include: conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine; possessing equipment, chemicals, products and materials which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine, knowing that the equipment, chemicals, products and materials would be used to manufacture methamphetamine; maintaining residences, one of which was less than 1000 feet away from an elementary school, for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine; and federal firearms offenses, including two for using firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and one for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
For more information and education about methamphetamine and the work done by the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force visit http://www.rid-meth.org.
Recent Meth and Prescription Drug cases:
- Vernon Luke Bowser Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Methamphetamine Conspiracy Operating In Washington County
- Roger Tristan Johnson Sentenced To 235 Months In Prison For Participating In Conspiracy To Distribute Oxycodone
- Fourteen Arrested On Federal Methamphetamine Charges In Tennessee And North Georgia
- Tamral Guzman and Brian Hatcher Sentenced: Guzman Formerly Operated Maryville Pain Clinic
- Forty-Two Indicted On Charges Relating To Manufacture And Distribution Of Methamphetamine In Anderson County