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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 16, 2018

Caryville Resident Enters Guilty Plea for Role in Methamphetamine Distribution Conspiracy

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On April 16, 2018, Linda S. Ward, 55, of Caryville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.  Her sentencing hearing is set for 10:00 a.m., August 6, 2018, in U.S. District Court.  She faces a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence.

In February 2018, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against Ward and ten others alleging various narcotic, firearms, and money laundering offenses.  Those charged in the indictment include:

  • Nathan S. Marlow, 22, of Duff, Tennessee;
  • Nicholas B. Williams, 27, of Winder, Georgia;
  • Justin P. Morris, 26, of Auburn, Georgia;
  • Coty E. Malicoat, 21, of Duff, Tennessee;
  • Michael Chantz Sturdivant, 22, of Jefferson, Georgia;
  • Samuel A. Rose, 21, of Clairfield, Tennessee;
  • Andrea W. Robbins, 44, of LaFollette, Tennessee;
  • Earl J. Jones, 49, of LaFollette, Tennessee;
  • Kristin R. Damons, 24, of Winder, Georgia;
  • Paige L. Russell, 24, of LaFollette, Tennessee;

In her plea agreement on file with the U.S. District Court, Ward agreed that she distributed between 50 and 150 grams of actual methamphetamine. According to the plea agreement, between July 2017 and February 2018, Ward obtained methamphetamine from Marlow, which she then sold.  During the investigation, conversations between Ward and Marlow, in which they discussed obtaining and paying for methamphetamine provided by Marlow, were intercepted by law enforcement.  

Russell pleaded guilty in April 2018 to a lesser-included offense and her sentencing is set for August 1, 2018.  Jones has also filed plea agreement with the U.S. District Court.  Trial for the remaining co-defendants is set for October 30, 2018.

This investigation began in 2016 and initially resulted in the conviction and sentencing of several others, discussed below, for their involvement in the drug conspiracy and money laundering.    

James R. Lawson, 32, of Dayton, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in April 2017 to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced in August 2017 to serve 120 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. 

Teri L. Evans, 28, of Jacksboro, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in April 2017 to the lesser-included offense of conspiracy to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced in April 2017 to serve 60 months in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release. 

Lee Ann Winstead, 57, of Caryville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in May 2017 to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced in August 2017 to serve 120 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. 

Derrick Avery Cook, 36, of Jacksboro, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in May 2017 to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced in August 2017 to serve 172 months in federal prison, followed by 10 years supervised release.

Larry Gerauld Hatfield, a/k/a Jerry Hatfield, 54, of Jacksboro, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in May 2017 to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced in September 2017 to serve 121 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. 

Jeffrey M. Townsend, 57, of Fairmount Georgia, pleaded guilty on June 14, 2017, to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced in October 2017 to serve 168 months in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. 

Terry A. King, 40, of Jacksboro, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in May 2017 to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced in October 2017, to serve 140 months in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. 

Roger L. Young, 49, of Clinton, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in November 2016, to possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced in October 2017 to serve 100 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release.   

Josh L. Lawson, 32, of Caryville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in July 2017 to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and conspiracy to launder money.  He was sentenced in November 2017 to serve 160 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.

Jesse M. Pinkerton, 37, of Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in June 2017, to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced in November 2017 to serve 197 months in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release.

James W. Lawson, 56, of Caryville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in June 2017 to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and conspiracy to launder money.  He was sentenced in December 2017 to serve 300 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. 

Law enforcement agencies participating in this joint investigation include the Eighth Judicial Drug Task Force; Seventh Judicial Crime Task Force; Ninth Judicial Drug Task Force; Tenth Judicial Drug Task Force; Anderson County Sheriff’s Office; Campbell County Sheriff’s Office; Knox County Sheriff’s Office; Oak Ridge Police Department; LaFollette Police Department; Tennessee Highway Patrol; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Marshal Service; and Drug Enforcement Administration.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Caryn L. Hebets represents the United States in court proceedings. 

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Contact: 
Sharry Dedman-Beard Public Information Officer 865.225.1671 sharry.dedman-beard@usdoj.gov
Updated April 16, 2018