Federal Grand Jury Indicts 18 in Methamphetamine Distribution Conspiracy
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On July 11, 2017, a federal Grand Jury in Greeneville returned a 49-count indictment against the following individuals for their roles in the distribution of methamphetamine:
David Byron Jones, 60, of Chatsworth, Georgia;
Jonathan Delph, 50, of Rogersville, Tennessee;
Clay Seals, Jr., 50, of Surgoinsville, Tennessee;
Stephanie Bailey, 49, of Hawkins County, Tennessee;
Donna Strong, 53, a.k.a. Donna Dunbar, of Surgoinsville, Tennessee;
Curtis Carpenter, 42, of Whitesburg, Tennessee;
Jerry Robinette, 49, of Rogersville, Tennessee;
Edward Smith, 51, of Rogersville, Tennessee;
Tyler Delph, 24, of Rogersville, Tennessee;
Scottie Delph, 48, of Rogersville, Tennessee;
James Michael Whitaker, 54, of Rogersville, Tennessee;
Paul Bledsoe Jr., 43, of Morristown, Tennessee;
William West, 57, a.k.a. Bump, of Rogersville, Tennessee;
Frankie Benton, 33, of Hawkins County, Tennessee;
James Dwayne Byington, 49, of Rogersville, Tennessee;
Leonard Brad Eidson, 42, of Bull’s Gap, Tennessee;
Phillip Burton, 48, a.k.a. Burger, of Rogersville, Tennessee; and
Toby Jones, 39, of Chatsworth, Georgia.
Trial before the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Court Judge, has not yet been set.
The indictment, on file with the U.S. District Court, alleges that each of these individuals was involved in a conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in the Eastern District of Tennessee and elsewhere. Carpenter, Robinette, Smith, Burton, Tyler Delph, and Seals were also each charged with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The indictment also alleges other charges related to the distribution and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine as well as the unlawful possession firearms.
If convicted of the methamphetamine conspiracy charge, each faces a minimum mandatory prison term of at least 10 years and up to life, at least five years of supervised release, a fine of up to $10,000,000, any applicable forfeiture, and a $100 special assessment. The punishment for the firearm charges returned against Carpenter, Robinette, Smith, Burton, Tyler Delph, and Seals is a minimum mandatory term of at least five years and up to life in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed, up to five years supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, and a $100 special assessment.
The on-going investigation leading to the indictment was the product of a partnership between Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department, Third Judicial Drug Task Force, Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, Conasauga (Georgia) Safe Streets Task Force, U.S. Marshal Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Christian Lampe will represent the United States.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation is a result of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, 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 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.