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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

15 Alleged Members of Drug Trafficking Organization Indicted

Jackson, TN – Fifteen alleged members of a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing cocaine and marijuana throughout West Tennessee have been indicted on federal charges. Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee; Michael T. Gavin, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Steve Isbell, Chief of Police for the Dyersburg Police Department; and Christopher Wiser, Chief of Police for the Jackson Police Department, announced the indictment today.

"As the indictment alleges, these 15 individuals decided to traffic illicit narcotics throughout our district as a means to fatten their pockets," said U.S. Attorney Stanton. "Law enforcement has no tolerance for the distribution of illegal drugs, and this indictment serves as a reminder that we will keep pursuing those suspected of poisoning our community."

On Tuesday, January 31st, 12 of the defendants were taken into custody by federal, state and local law enforcement officials. Three of the defendants were already incarcerated on unrelated charges.

The following defendants have been indicted for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, cocaine base and marijuana:

• Anthony Lamont Adams, 41, of Obion County
• James Williams Ayers, 51, of Shelby County (Already in Federal Custody)
• Joaquian Jonulle Bowen, 30, of Dyer County
• Edrik Deon Fason, 34, of Madison County (Already in Federal Custody)
• Derrick Shawen Fields, 36, of Dyer County
• L.C. Gills Jr., 48, of Dyer County
• Monteith Alvarez Haley, 37, of Dyer County
• Charlie Dwayan Hartshaw, 35, of Madison County
• Demonta Darnell Henning, 25, of Dyer County
• Paul Montrale Isom, 30, of Dyer County
• Joseph Deangelo Lee, 44, of Dyer County
• Billy Joe Liggon Jr., 40, of Madison County (Already in Federal Custody)
• Bobby Charles McElrath, 54, of Dyer County
• Kenneth Wayne Patrick, 38, of Dyer County
• Jermaine B. Temple, 38, of Madison County

According to the indictment, between June and December 2016, the defendants conspired with each other to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana. The defendants allegedly aided and abetted each other during the commission of the aforementioned crime.

During the course of its investigation, law enforcement officials seized illicit narcotics, drug paraphernalia, firearms, and drug proceeds. Additional firearms were recovered during Tuesday’s round-up.

"Gang-related drug activity tears at the fabric of our communities, as gang members peddle poison and innocent people are caught in the violence and related crimes that accompany the drug trade," said Gavin, Special Agent in Charge for the FBI’s Memphis Field Office. "Today's arrests demonstrate the commitment of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to root out those who seek to prey on the public, and to stamp out the organizations that ruin so many lives."

"I am very proud of the Street Crimes Unit, and appreciate their dedication and hard work removing dangerous individuals from our community," said Dyersburg Police Chief Isbell. "They worked many long hours and were aided by other members of the police department’s patrol and criminal investigation division. Officers on the Street Crimes Unit are also members of the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force. This partnership allows us to combine resources to make all of West Tennessee a safer place."

"We want the citizens of Jackson and West Tennessee to be confident in our departments’ commitment to relentlessly and aggressively pursuing criminals who engage in poisoning our community by pushing and selling drugs in West Tennessee," stated Jackson Police Chief Wiser. "Criminals do not stop at city limit signs and neither do we. The Jackson Police Department values our working relationship with our federal law enforcement partners which often bridge the gap between local jurisdictions. Because drugs are the root cause of so many of the crimes committed in our area, we are determined to focus our attention and resources on those with criminal intent to destroy our community. We appreciate the likeminded efforts of the FBI and the Dyersburg Police Department in this case and you can be assured that these types of enforcement actions will continue as long as needed to combat the drug problems in our streets."

All 15 defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison and fines of up to $1 million for both the conspiracy and aiding and abetting charges.

Isom is charged with an additional count of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. He faces up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000 for the charge.

Haley is charged with three additional counts of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. He faces up to 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million for each charge.

Fason is charged with an additional count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a fine of up to $5 million.

Ayers is charged with felony possession of multiple firearms and ammunition. He faces up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 for the charge.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Memphis Safe Streets Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of agents from the FBI Memphis Division’s Jackson Resident Agency, the Dyersburg Police Department, the Jackson Police Department, the Lexington Police Department, and the 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Wilson is prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.

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

Updated January 31, 2017