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Friday, December 4, 2009

Department of Justice

United States Attorney James R. Dedrick Eastern District of Tennessee


SEVENTEEN INDICTED IN COCKE COUNTY DRUG TRAFFICKING INVESTIGATION

NEWPORT, Tenn - A federal grand jury in Greeneville returned indictments during the week of November 23, 2009, against Gregory Thomas, a/k/a Frog, 31; Sheena Coggins, 23; Amanda Coggins, 46; Ronnie L. Davidson, 43; Daniel C. Ballinger, 25; Charles Tyrone Warren, a/k/a CJ, a/k/a Cowboy, 29 ; Jabri Daniels, a/k/a Bri, 25 ; Misty Cutshaw, a/k/a Misty Weeks, 28; Carla Sue Dockery, 41; Eugene Downs, 60; Robecca Nicole Hawk, 29; Robert O. McKinney, a/k/a Dinero, 31; Amanda Cureton, 26 ; Kelly Middleton, 51; Suzanne Gorrell, 25 ; and Phillip Green, a/k/a Flip, 22, for drug and firearms charges. Carl Rader, 40, was separately charged in a criminal complaint and entered a plea by information.

Most defendants appeared in court the weeks of November 23 and December 3, 2009 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis H. Inman and entered pleas of not guilty to the charges.

Four separate indictments were returned by the grand jury.

Greg Thomas, Amanda Coggins, Sheena Coggins, Carla Dockery, and Amanda Cureton were charged in an eight-count indictment with conspiring over a 21-month period to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack”). They were also charged with substantive distributions of crack cocaine. The charges spanned from February 2008 to November 2, 2009.

Charles Warren, Eugene Downs, Jabri Daniels, Robecca Hawk, Misty Cutshaw, Robert McKinney, Phillip Green, Kelly Middleton, and Suzanne Gorrell were charged in a 23-count indictment with conspiring for more than two years to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack”). Warren, Downs, Daniels, Hawk, Cutshaw, McKinney, Green and Gorrell were also charged with substantive distributions of crack cocaine. Downs and Middleton were charged with using and maintaining a residence in Dandridge, Tennessee for the purpose of distributing and using crack cocaine. Daniels, Cutshaw, Green, McKinney and Downs were also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of the drug offenses. The charges spanned from the summer of 2007 through November 2, 2009.

Daniel Ballenger was separately charged in an eight -count indictment with distributing crack cocaine on five occasions, possessing with intent to distribute crack cocaine on one occasion, possessing a firearm in furtherance of one of the distributions of crack cocaine and with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The charges spanned a six-week time period between October 7, 2009 and November 17, 2009.

Ronnie Davidson was separately charged in a four-count indictment distributing crack cocaine on three occasions and possessing with intent to distribute more than five grams of crack cocaine on one occasion.

Carl Rader was also arrested and pled guilty to a two count information charging him with conspiring over a five-month period, from June 2009 to November 2, 2009, to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

Offenses involving 50 grams or more of crack cocaine are punishable by at least 10 years imprisonment and up to life. In addition to incarceration, defendants convicted of this offense may face fines of up to $4,000,000 and a five-year term of supervised release.

Offenses involving 5 grams or more of crack cocaine are punishable by at least five years imprisonment and up to forty years in jail. In addition to incarceration, defendants convicted of this offense may face fines of up to $2,000,000 and a four-year term of supervised release.

Offenses involving less than 5 grams of crack cocaine are punishable by up to 20 years in jail, fines of up to $1,000,000 and a three-year term of supervised release.

Punishments for all these offenses are increased if defendants have previously been convicted of drug felony offenses.

Using or maintaining a residence for drug distribution or use carries up to a 20 year term of imprisonment, a fine of up to $500,000 and a three-year period of supervised release.

Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense carries a mandatory consecutive term of imprisonment of at least five years for the first offense and 25 years for the second offense.

Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries up to a 10 year term of imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to a three-year period of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney James R. “Russ” Dedrick praised the investigative efforts of the officers and agents involved in the investigation. Dedrick said, “through a lot of patience, determination, and hard work, law enforcement officers have put a huge dent into the drug trafficking activities occurring in Cocke County. I am pleased with the cooperation and professionalism displayed by the agencies involved and appreciate the strong partnership we share with our state and local colleagues.”

Fourth Judicial District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn stated: I want to thank the FBI and TBI for working with the Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force to slow the flow and distribution of drugs in this district. I also appreciated the US Attorney’s Office’s willingness to prosecute these cases in federal court where the defendants receive longer and non-parolable sentences.Most importantly,we want the citizens to know that we will continue to work together and to do all we can to stop this epidemic that is hurting so many individuals and damaging so many families.

The indictments are the result of investigations by the Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The indictments are attached. A press conference, announcing the charges, was held at Newport City Hall on December 4, 2009, at 1:30 p.m.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment or information constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert M. Reeves and Greg Bowman are representing the United States.

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