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November 14, 2011

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee

Mark Allen Buckner Sentenced to 135 Months in Prison for Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine

Buckner Was Formerly Featured in National Geographic Television Special

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Mark Allen Buckner, 41, of Englewood, Tenn., was sentenced to serve 135 months in prison in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga, by the Honorable Harry S. Mattice, Jr., U.S. District Court Judge. The sentence was the result of a guilty plea by Buckner on August 9, 2011, to a federal indictment charging him with conspiracy to manufacture five grams or more of methamphetamine.

The indictment and subsequent conviction of Buckner was the result of a vehicle stop in July 2010. A search resulted in the seizure of a small amount of marijuana and unopened box of Walgreens’ pseudoephedrine. Buckner admitted that people were staying with him at his property and cooking methamphetamine. He said the pills recovered from the car were going to be used later that night to make methamphetamine.

On September 3, 2010, McMinn County Sheriff’s Department received report of a suicide at Buckner’s address. Officers arrived at the scene and in addition to the suicide victim they observed methamphetamine trash at the scene. A large methamphetamine lab was discovered in and around his property. Buckner admitted to cooking methamphetamine several times a week since April, 2010. He stated that he had been cooking at this location almost every day since April.

Prior to the federal indictment, Buckner was on a National Geographic television special on methamphetamine. The program, “Drugs, Inc.: Methamphetamine,” featured Buckner as a patient at the burn unit at Vanderbilt Hospital following an explosion from a methamphetamine lab he had been operating. Buckner was severely burned over 60 percent of his body from the explosion and required a lengthy hospital stay. Buckner’s latest involvement with cooking methamphetamine, as charged in the federal indictment, occurred shortly after he was released from the hospital.

Several law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, Tenth Judicial Drug Task Force, McMinn County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Neff prosecuted the case and represented the United States.

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