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Press Release

Seventeen Indicted on Federal Methamphetamine Conspiracy and Firearms Charges

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

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On April 4, 2017, a federal grand jury in Knoxville returned a seven-count indictment against the following individuals for their roles in the distribution of methamphetamine:


Keith L. Bird, a.k.a. “Dirty Bird,” 37, of Friendsville, Tennessee;

Daniel Hixon, 32, of Chattanooga, Tennessee;

James Haynes, a.k.a.“Haun,” 28, of Norcross, Georgia;

Christopher Mitchell, a.k.a. “Banjo,” 30, of Maryville, Tennessee;

Michael Smith, 32, of Norcross, Georgia;

Steve Bartholomew, a.k.a. “Trigger,” 50, of Louisville, Tennessee;

Samuel Higgins, a.k.a. “Sambo,” 25, of Maryville, Tennessee;

Jeremiah Higgins, 24, of Maryville, Tennessee;

Dennis Clark, a.k.a. “Big Brother,” 30, of Philadelphia, Tennessee;

Ashley Morris-Casebolt, 31, of Lenoir City, Tennessee;

Chadwick Condry, 44, of Maryville, Tennessee;

Thomas Freeman, 43, of Greenback, Tennessee;

William Norman, 42, of Rocky Top, Tennessee;

George Nicholas Bailey, 38, of Maryville, Tennessee;

John Shane Bailey, 44, of Knoxville, Tennessee;

Burt Cable, 46, of Maryville, Tennessee; and

Shannon Kirby, 49, of Friendsville, Tennessee


Trial has been set for August 1, 2017, before the Honorable Pamela Reeves, U.S. District Court Judge.


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. Bird, Hixon, Haynes, and Smith were also each charged with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Additionally, Bird was charged with two counts of distributing five grams or more of methamphetamine.


If convicted of the methamphetamine conspiracy charge, each faces a minimum mandatory term of imprisonment 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 Bird, Hixon, Haynes, and Smith 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. If convicted of the two methamphetamine distribution counts, Bird also faces a minimum mandatory sentence of at least five and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years of supervised release, a fine of up to $5,000,000, any applicable forfeiture, and a $100 special assessment.


This indictment is the result of an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force, Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Ninth Judicial Drug Task Force, Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly A. Norris 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.



Updated May 4, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses