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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

James Fitzgerald “Boogie” Simonton Sentenced to 330 Months for Crack Cocaine, Firearms and Witness Intimidation Offenses

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - On February 20, 2019, James Fitzgerald Simonton, a/k/a “Boogie,” 51, of Kingsport, Tennessee, was sentenced by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, Senior U.S. District Judge, to serve 330 months in federal prison.  There is no parole in the federal system. 

Simonton was convicted by a jury, in March 2018, following a three-day trial, for conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine; possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense; three counts of being felon in possession of firearms; and, witness intimidation.  Evidence presented at trial revealed that an investigation began following the May 2016 appearance of two young males with gunshot wounds at Indian Path Hospital, one of whom was Simonton’s son.  Detectives developed Simonton as a suspect in the shooting of the two.  When officers went to his residence, they found a Glock pistol with extended magazine, which was traced by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to Simonton’s neighbor.  Through the trace, detectives learned the firearm had been purchased at Academy Sports in Johnson City.  Academy provided paperwork for the transaction and surveillance video from its store, which reflected Simonton had been present along with a codefendant during the purchase of the firearm.  Additional surveillance video showed that Simonton was present when another firearm was purchased by his then girlfriend.  As the investigation progressed, two codefendants, one of whom was another son of Simonton, were arrested for possession of crack cocaine, leading to information about Simonton’s involvement in trafficking of crack cocaine from a source in Georgia into Sullivan County, Tennessee.  Ultimately, the investigation successfully uncovered the firearm used in the shooting of the two young males, an AK63, 7.62 caliber rifle. 

After his arrest, and while in federal custody, Simonton threatened a cooperating witness against him in an effort to influence that witness’ testimony.  The jury found him guilty of intimidation of that witness.

Law enforcement agencies participating in this joint investigation were the Kingsport Police Department, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, and ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Gregory Bowman represented the United States in court proceedings.                  

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce existing gun laws.  It provides more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure that criminals who commit gun crime face tough sentences.  PSN gives each federal district the flexibility it needs to focus on individual challenges that a specific community faces. 

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Sharry Dedman-Beard Public Information Officer 865.225.1671 sharry.dedman-beard@usdoj.gov
Updated February 20, 2019