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Press Release

Michael J.W. Potter Sentenced To Life in Prison for Conspiring to Distribute Methamphetamine

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Tennessee

GREENEVILLE, Tenn.- On August 1, 2018, Michael J.W. Potter, 36, of Kingsport, Tennessee, was sentenced by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Judge, to serve the remainder of his life in federal prison.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Potter was sentenced pursuant to a federal statute which provides for a mandatory sentence of life in prison for individuals convicted of a drug trafficking offense after having previously been convicted of two or more felony drug trafficking offenses in state or federal court. 

Evidence presented trial revealed that an investigation into a large scale methamphetamine distribution ring in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia led to the execution of search warrants by agents with the Second Judicial Drug Task Force, working with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). Nearly five kilograms of crystal methamphetamine were seized as a result of these searches.  During the investigation, agents identified numerous members of the organization, which was supplied primarily by Nathan Hogan of Villa Rica, Georgia, who was also indicted in this case. 

Potter and his co-conspirators were responsible for transporting hundreds of pounds of crystal methamphetamine, a highly addictive controlled substance, from northern Georgia into Sullivan County, Tennessee, and the surrounding area for distribution. Only Potter proceeded to trial. The other 24 individuals indicted in the conspiracy entered guilty pleas, with the exception of Shawn Dumitras, who died prior to arrest.

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

This case was 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.                 



Sharry Dedman-Beard

Updated August 2, 2018

Drug Trafficking