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June 4, 2012

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee

Michigan And South Florida Men Sentenced In Greeneville For Roles In Tri-Cities And Southwest Virginia Drug Conspiracy

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- On May 31, 2012, Shawn James Banks , 40, of Detroit, Mich., was sentenced to serve 97 months in federal prison, and Lloyd James Steed, 34, also from Detroit was sentenced to serve 66 months in federal prison, by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Court Judge, for their roles in transporting and distributing oxycodone from Detroit to the Eastern District of Tennessee and the Western District of Virginia.

On May 18, 2012, Marquis Cornelius Taylor, 37, of Miami, Fla., was sentenced to serve 144 months for his role in the same conspiracy. All three were supplying Rodney Mitchell, 32, of Kingsport, Maurice Gravely, 41, of Gray, Tenn., and others with the powerful pain killer oxycodone. Twenty-seven defendants from four states were indicted in this conspiracy and all have now been convicted.

“Oxycodone continues to be a major problem in this area. The powerful pain killer is a major factor in many of the violent crimes including bank and pharmacy robberies. The drug is extremely addictive and very expensive on the street. Our office will continue to work closely with law enforcement to cut off the illegal supply lines for this drug, whether they are traditional criminal organizations, such as in this case, or‘pill mills’ operating just outside the law,” stated U.S. Attorney William C. Killian.

This investigation involved law enforcement officers with the Tennessee Second Judicial District Drug Task Force, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force, Kingsport, Tennessee Police Department, Sullivan County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office, Bristol Tennessee Police Department, Johnson City Tennessee Police Department, Washington County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division, all of which provided valuable assistance during the course of the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert M. Reeves, Eastern District of Tennessee and Zachary T. Lee, Western District of Virginia, represented the United States. Other individuals related to this investigation have been prosecuted by Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus, and by the Wise County Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronald K. Elkins, who have been involved with the investigation since its inception on 2007.

The investigation is a result of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

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