Friday, December 3, 2010
Department of Justice
United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee
MULTIPLE ARRESTS ON FEDERAL DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES
KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Several defendants were arrested yesterday and today in Knoxville, Alcoa, Atlanta and Maryland by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local law enforcement officers on charges involving a multi-state cocaine and crack cocaine trafficking conspiracy and money laundering charges. Yesterday, federal search warrants were executed at locations in Knoxville, Alcoa and Rockford, which resulted in the seizure of large amounts of United States currency, vehicles, drugs, and other evidence.
Initial appearances were scheduled throughout the day in U.S. District Court in Knoxville before the Honorable H. Bruce Guyton and the Honorable C. Clifford Shirley, United States Magistrate Judges. Initial appearances were also scheduled in the U.S. District Courts in Atlanta and Maryland.
The charges are contained in a 76-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Knoxville on November 16, 2010. Trial has been set for February 8, 2011, in U.S. District Court, in Knoxville before the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan. The defendants under arrest and in custody include:
- Bryan Douglas Walden, 38, of Alcoa;
- Curicio Sehale Hight, 32, of Knoxville;
- Travis Edward Jackson, 31, of Knoxville;
- Thomas Goins, 49, of Knoxville;
- Willie Robert Gilbert, Jr., 42, of Atlanta;
- Tavaris Maurice Wyatt, 28, of Atlanta;
- Courtney Wayne Walden, 41, of Alcoa;
- Dorian Johnson, 22, of Alcoa;
- Willie Lundy, 43, of Rockford;
- Jazmin Tyrin Meredith, 23, of Maryland; and
- Latara Jester, 36, of Atlanta.
Other defendants remain at-large.
If convicted, each defendant faces a term of at least 10 years in prison up to life, fines, supervised release, and forfeiture in the amount of $2.5 million.
This indictment is the result of a joint investigation by the FBI/Appalachia High Intensity Drug Task Force comprised of officers and agents of Tennessee National Guard, Counter-Drug Division, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton Police Department, Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Roane County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Knoxville Police Department and the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force comprised of officers from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Maryville Police Department and Alcoa Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Stone 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 their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was part of the Department's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) programs. OCDETF is the primary weapon of the United States against the highest level drug trafficking organizations operating within the United States, importing drugs into the United States, or laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking. The HIDTA program enhances and coordinates drug control efforts among local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies. The program provides agencies with coordination, equipment, technology, and additional resources to combat drug trafficking and its harmful consequences in critical regions of the United States.