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Justice News

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

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Jessica James Sentenced to Serve 180 Months in Prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

James has prior felony drug trafficking convictions in Hamblen County

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On February 6, 2019, Jessica James, 30, of Morristown, Tennessee, was sentenced by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, Senior U.S. District Court Judge, to serve 15 years in federal prison. 

James pleaded guilty in October 2018 to conspiring with Trinity Scott Johnson, 39, of Morristown, Tennessee; Truman Lee Smith, 24, of Russellville, Tennessee; Colby Scarlett, 20, of Morristown, Tennessee; and others to distribute over 50 grams of methamphetamine in east Tennessee in 2017 and 2018.  In October 2018, Johnson was sentenced to serve 204 months in prison. Smith was sentenced in November 2018 to serve 10 years in federal prison. In January 2019, Scarlett was also sentenced to serve 10 years in federal prison.

Sentencing for codefendant Megan Gilliam, 25, of Morristown, Tennessee, is set for February 11, 2019. She also faces 10 years to life in federal prison.

Agencies involved in this investigation included the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department and FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert. M. Reeves represented the United States in court proceedings.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.    

This case was also the 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. 


Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Sharry Dedman-Beard Public Information Officer 865.225.1671
Updated February 6, 2019