crossville Man Convicted of Drug Conspiracy and Other Crimes
Jury Also Returns Forfeiture Judgement Over $6,000,000
Joseph Wolcott, 56, of Crossville, Tennessee was convicted by a federal jury on Friday, February 4, 2011 of conspiring to possess and distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, participation in a gambling business enterprise, aiding and abetting travel in interstate commerce with the intent to distribute proceeds from the gambling business, money laundering, and the exhibition of an animal in an animal fighting venture, announced Jerry E. Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee and Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration-Atlanta Field Division.
The jury also returned a special verdict, forfeiting real and personal property, including numerous vehicles, approximately $375,000 in cash seized during the investigation, and an additional $6,000,000 forfeiture judgment against Wolcott.
“The verdicts returned by the jury are the result of hundreds of hours skillful and meticulous investigation and case preparation by our law enforcement partners and prosecutors,” said U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin. “This is another example of the excellent work our law enforcement community is capable of and will ensure the removal of yet another illegal drug distributor from our community.”
Specifically, the jury found Wolcott guilty of conspiring to possess, with the intent to distribute and to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana; aiding and abetting his son, Kevin Wolcott, in traveling in interstate commerce with the intent to distribute the proceeds of an unlawful activity, that being a business enterprise involving gambling, in violation of the laws of the State of Tennessee; engaging in an illegal gambling business which involved 5 or more people and had gross revenue in excess of $2,000 in any single day, or remained in continuous operation for more than 30 days; money laundering; and exhibiting an animal in a fighting venture (a cockfight), knowing an animal in that venture had been bought, sold, delivered, transported, or received in interstate commerce for the purpose of participating in the fighting venture.
As a result of the verdict on the criminal charges, the jury also found Wolcott must forfeit several pieces of property he owned, approximately $375,000 in cash, numerous vehicles, and precious metals, all of which were previously seized during the investigation. The jury also returned a forfeiture judgment in the amount of $5,000,000, representing the proceeds of the marijuana conspiracy, and a second forfeiture judgment in the amount of $1,000,000, representing the proceeds of the gambling offenses, against Wolcott.
Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said of the verdicts, “Marijuana is a dangerous drug that poses a clear and present danger to the community. Because of the collective efforts of our local, state and federal law enforcement counterparts, this defendant was brought to justice.”
Wolcott faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years in prison, with a maximum sentence of life in prison, and an $8,000,000 fine, based on the conviction on the marijuana distribution conspiracy charges. Eight of the 12 other defendants initially charged in this case, including Kevin Wolcott, have previously pleaded guilty.
The investigation began in the summer of 2008. The DEA was assisted in the investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Crossville, Tennessee Police Department, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, the Kentucky State Police, the Knoxville, Tennessee Police Department, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The United States is represented by Assistant United States Attorneys J. Alex Little and Brent A. Hannafan.
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