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June 13, 2012

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee

U.S. Department Of Justice Conveys 1000 Acre Tract Of Land To State Of Tennessee For Wildlife Management Area

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The U.S. Department of Justice has conveyed to the State of Tennessee approximately 1000 acres of undeveloped land on Short Mountain in Cannon County. The transfer was announced by William C. Killian, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee; Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge, Atlanta Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration; and Denny W. King, U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Tennessee.

The land, located in Woodbury, will be managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and known as the Headwaters Wildlife Management Area. As a critical habitat for plant and animal species and containing the headwaters for three Tennessee watersheds, the land will be open to the public for small game hunting, hiking, and wildlife viewing. The Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division coordinated the transfer.

This land was forfeited to the United States as part of the 2007 federal criminal convictions of Morris Roller and Jeffory Carl Young for distribution of marijuana. The transfer was made under a law that allows the Justice Department to convey forfeited property to states for public use for recreation or conservation purposes. The federal criminal investigation leading to the forfeiture of this property was assisted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission; Warren County Sheriff's Department; Hamilton County Sheriff's Department; and Chattanooga Police Department.

“The transfer of this property was accomplished through the cooperative efforts of local, state and federal government agencies. This historic conveyance of forfeited property, which is the largest transfer for conservation purposes in the past 15 years by the federal government to a governmental entity, will leave a lasting legacy of this wildlife management area for the State of Tennessee and its citizens. Now, rather than being used for growing marijuana or violating other laws, it will be used for recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, and hunting. Russ Dedrick, my predecessor as U.S. Attorney, is to be congratulated for arranging this donation of land,” said U.S. Attorney William C. Killian.

"This land transfer highlights the benefits of asset forfeiture as a crime-fighting tool," said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. "Our law enforcement efforts put an end to illegal drug production on this land and secured its preservation for years to come."

A dedication ceremony for the land is scheduled for 10:00 a.m., today, June 13, 2012.

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