You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 6, 2022

11 Indicted in Alleged Drug Conspiracy

Jackson, TN – A total of 11 individuals have been indicted for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and fentanyl. U.S. Attorney Joseph C. Murphy Jr. announced the indictments today.

According to information presented in court, on July 12, 2021, eleven subjects were indicted with a second superseding indictment filed on December 14, 2021. The FBI Safe Streets Task Force investigated the distribution of marijuana and fentanyl pills coming from Washington and California into West Tennessee.

These defendants are alleged to have participated in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics throughout the Western District of Tennessee:

• Vinson Taylor, Jr.

• Alexis Ballard

• Isaiah A. Gauldin

• Ja’Quon Roberson

• Savontay Laquar Womack-Knight

• Cooper Keeling Hurt

• David LaFonta Ray, Jr.

• Quason Brent Taylor

• Jaci Rinae Neary

• Dwanyae Smith

• Daniel Michael Gutierrez

Since the original indictment, agents executed a search warrant at the residence of Womack-Knight and Neary in Lakewood, Washington, which resulted in the discovery of two firearms, $48,405 in U.S. currency, various items of jewelry, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and numerous pills containing fentanyl. Based upon the investigation, evidence

revealed Womack-Knight would mail the narcotics to V. Taylor who then would distribute among the remaining co-conspirators. All eleven subjects have been placed in custody.

Utilizing social media, search warrants, traffic stops, search warrants in conjunction with the United States Postal Inspection Service, and search warrants from residences, the FBI, the United States Postal Service, and the Dyersburg Police Department, have seized over 44 kilograms of marijuana and over 5,000 fentanyl pills, which were being shipped via mail and then distributed in the Western District of Tennessee. Through social media search warrant returns, agents have photographs and video of the defendants in possession of additional marijuana and pills like those seized and testing for fentanyl. Furthermore, agents were able to seize numerous firearms and large amounts of cash.

"Our continued partnership with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee, has resulted in the removal of 27 firearms, and the seizure of deadly fentanyl that has been linked to overdoses here in Dyersburg. We remain committed to the removal of this deadly drug, and illegally owned firearms from our community," said Dyersburg Police Chief Steven L. Isbell.

"The FBI and our law enforcement partners are dedicated to disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations and ending the violence they bring to our communities," said Douglas M. Korneski, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "As exemplified by the successful combined efforts of our team, we are committed to eliminating these criminal enterprises."

If convicted, the defendants each face sentences of five years’ imprisonment up to life.

This case was investigated by the FBI, United States Postal Service, and the Dyersburg Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hillary Parham is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

###

Updated January 6, 2022