Massachusetts Man Convicted Of Role In Long-Term Drug Conspiracy
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On Aug. 29, 2016, following a one-day bench trial in U.S. District Court on April 20, 2016, Thomas Lee Newman, Sr., a.k.a. Tree, 37, of Pittsfield, Mass., was convicted by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Court Judge, of one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, 280 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base (“crack”); two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack”); and one count of distribution of cocaine base (“crack”).
Sentencing is set for 1:30 p.m., Nov. 14, 2016. Because of his extensive criminal record, Newman faces a mandatory term of life in prison. There is no parole in the federal system.
Over the course of several years, Newman, and numerous others participated in a massive conspiracy which was responsible for the distribution of multi-kilogram quantities of crack cocaine throughout Johnson City. To accomplish this, Newman and others procured both powder cocaine and crack cocaine from sources of supply in New York, North Carolina, and elsewhere. The drugs were then transported to Tennessee, where countless facilitators, couriers, and distributors collaborated to sell the contraband throughout upper east Tennessee. Newman himself served as both a source of supply for his coconspirators, as well as a recipient and distributor through others.
During the trial, investigators provided overwhelming evidence of Newman’s involvement in the instant conspiracy, including one controlled drug purchase, one traffic stop, and one search warrant, all of which yielded crack cocaine. In addition, two coconspirators provided damning testimony of Newman’s conduct, outlining his drug dealing in exorbitant drug quantities.
This multiyear-long investigation is the product of a partnership between the Narcotics Unit of the Johnson City, Tennessee Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Regalia represented the United States.
In total, 21 individuals have been charged as part of this ongoing investigation. Those previously sentenced include:
- Antione Leroy Bishop, 33, of Spartanburg, S.C., 57 months;
- Nickerson Jean-Baptiste, 28, of Kingsport, Tenn., 70 months;
- Rashad El-Amin Feggans, 39, of Jonesborough, Tenn., 156 months;
- John Robert Lovitt, II, 32, of Ayden, N.C., 135 months;
- Narvell Kentez McDermott, 30, of Johnson City, Tenn., 34 months;
- Brandon Gustavious Porter; 33, of Charlotte, N.C.; 37 months;
- Arlando Carroll Story, 28, of Johnson City, Tenn., 108 months;
- Ernest Brandon Weaver, 29, of Johnson City, Tenn., 42 months; and
- David Keith Workman, 37, of Johnson City, Tenn., 120 months.
The remaining individuals who were charged are either awaiting sentencing or pending trial.
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.
This case was also brought as part of the Safe Streets Violent Crimes Initiative, a program which combines the efforts of federal, state, and local agencies in order to stop violent felons from endangering our communities.
This case was further 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 face