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Press Release

15 Charged With Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Firearms, And Money Laundering Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On February 21, 2024, a federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tennessee, returned a 19-count indictment against 15 defendants—Todd M. Evans, 31, and Joshua M. Vanriette, 38, both of Pontiac, MI; Gary L. Shadden, 70, Henri L. Ewing, 34, James M. Pass, 56, and Traythan W. Edwards, 23, all of Rockwood, TN; Robert S. Fugate, 53, and Charlotte A. Brown, 53, both of Spring City, TN; Amber B. Jackson, 33, Nicholas J. Eskridge, 46, Christopher C. Gilmore, 52, and Kristy L. Murray, all of Harriman, TN; and Bobby L. Robinette, 44, Liberty Warfield, 40, and Misty Walden, 46, all of Kingston, TN.

According to the indictment, all defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, multiple defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine as well as other fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine offenses, Evans, Vanriette, Ewing, and Pass are each charged with firearms offenses, and Evans, Vanriette, and Jackson are charged in a conspiracy to commit money laundering. 

Jackson, Walden, Shadden, Brown, Gilmore, Edwards, and Warfield had their initial appearances on February 22, 2024, before the Honorable Judge Jill E. McCook, United States Magistrate Judge, and all entered pleas of not guilty.  The remaining defendants will have their initial appearances at a later date.  This case has been set for trial on April 30, 2024, before the Honorable Katherine A. Crytzer, United States District Judge, in the United States District Court in Knoxville.  

If convicted, Evans, Vanriette, and Ewing each face a mandatory minimum term of 20 years and up to life in prison and other penalties; Jackson, Murray, and Pass each face a mandatory minimum of 15 years and up to life in prison and other penalties; Eskridge and Robinette each face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison and other penalties; Shadden, Walden, and Gilmore each face a mandatory minimum term of 5 years and up to 40 years in prison and other penalties; and Edwards and Warfield each face up to 20 years in prison and other penalties.                 

U.S. Attorney Francis M. Hamilton, III, of the Eastern District of Tennessee; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Joseph E. Carrico; and Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), made the announcement.    

This indictment is the result of an investigation led by the FBI, and the ATF, with significant support from the Roane County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Harriman Police Department, Rhea County Sheriff’s Office, Rockwood Police Department, as well as other partnering agencies to include the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent N. Jones will represent the United States. 

This operation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. 

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.




Rachelle Barnes
Public Affairs Officer
(865) 545-4167

Updated February 23, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses