The Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program is 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 which include: DEA, FBI, ATF, IRS, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard - 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.
The OCDETF program in the Eastern District of Tennessee is strong and active. Working with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, we achieve outstanding results and consistently rank as one of the most productive OCDETF programs in the nation. With the help of our OCDETF partners we identify, investigate, and prosecute organized drug trafficking organizations from Mexican drug cartels to regional drug groups operating in the Eastern District of Tennessee. Some of the examples of OCDETF cases brought by our office include:
- In Knoxville we prosecuted an OCDETF case known as “FAMILY REUNION.” Donnie Reynolds, the leader of the drug organization, was convicted by a jury in a cocaine trafficking and money laundering conspiracy which involved the importation of approximately 300 kilograms of cocaine into Knoxville during an 18-month period. Reynolds and other coconspirators obtained the cocaine directly from members of two Mexican drug cartels in Texas. Reynolds was also convicted of numerous firearms offenses in connection with his drug trafficking crimes, and is pending sentencing.
- We recently prosecuted out of our Johnson City office, 26 members of a marijuana drug trafficking organization with ties to Mexican cartels were involved in distributing thousands of tons of marijuana obtained from Mexico to locations across the United States including Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, California, and Illinois. In addition to importing marijuana from Mexico, this organization had begun cultivating their own marijuana on National Forest land in North Carolina. One cultivation site was discovered containing in excess of 3,700 marijuana plants. Three homicides were connected with this organization, including the murder of the main defendant in Texas. $150,000.00 in U.S. currency was seized, along with almost 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, and multiple firearms. The indictment charged the individuals with more than 22 counts involving drug trafficking and firearms violations and forfeiture allegations. Twenty-one of the defendants entered into plea agreements which included waivers of appellate rights and agreed forfeiture of real property. After a five-week trial, four of the remaining defendants were convicted and a money judgment was awarded in the amount of $6,000.000.00.
- In Chattanooga, an OCDETF operation called “WALK THE LINE,” led to a series of nine indictments and charging a total of 77 defendants in a methamphetamine and cocaine conspiracy case that stretched over the Southeastern United States. Over $1 million has been seized in various seizures and forfeitures by the government as a result of this investigation, and there is a $17 million money judgment pending against the remaining defendants. Eight different federal districts have participated in the investigation. Those charged included methamphetamine manufacturers, distributors and individuals who obtained chemicals and equipment necessary for the manufacture of the drug including an Iranian convenience store owner in Huntsville, Alabama and an employee of a chemical company in Georgia who supplied large amounts of chemicals to members of the conspiracy for use in manufacturing methamphetamine. The group was responsible for manufacturing and distributing over 350 pounds of methamphetamine. Several defendants received sentences in excess of 10 years and one received a life sentence.
For more information about the national OCDETF program visit http://www.justice.gov/dea/programs/ocdetf.htm.
Recent OCDETF cases: