Former Alderman Received Federal Sentence
Jackson, TN – Former Selmer, TN Alderman, Nickolas Atkins, 42, has been sentenced to federal prison for 48 months for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine. U.S. Attorney Joseph C. Murphy Jr. announced the sentence today.
According to information presented in court, in March 2018, a joint-task force investigation was initiated into the activities of a drug trafficking organization run by Timmy Jermaine Cole, - which involved the distribution of large quantities of methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine from individuals in Mexico to West Tennessee.
Through the interception of the Title III wiretaps, agents learned Atkins distributed marijuana, cocaine, and pills, as well as conducted a money laundering operation surrounding a restaurant owned by Cole. Atkins would pay the bills at the Hungry Wolf Restaurant in exchange for narcotics. It was determined, through Title III intercepts, witness statements and surveillance, Atkins was responsible for 250 pounds of marijuana, 3 ounces of cocaine, over 600 pills containing hydrocodone, and 77 units of testosterone. Also, Atkins sold pills containing hydrocodone out of Moody Auto Sales, where he was employed. During one of the intercepted calls between Atkins and Cole, Atkins told Cole that he had someone complain about the quality of marijuana.
Approximately four days later, there was another call where Atkins confirmed with Cole that Atkins owed Cole for three "cuties." Testimony would have been presented at a trial that based upon training and experience of law enforcement officers a "juice" is an ounce of cocaine, a "cutie" is known to law enforcement as a quarter ounce of cocaine and "girl" is code, for cocaine.
Additionally, Atkins utilized his position in the community as a former Alderman to obtain information from law enforcement and other members of the community to share with Cole in hiding his drug trafficking activity from law enforcement. For example, on December 7, 2019, Cole and Atkins were intercepted discussing Atkins having a party at the Hungry Wolf Restaurant where there would be a Court Clerk present. The two discussed how she would be a good person to know because "she would tip you off and tell you when they are getting ready to serve." There were additional calls where the two would discuss who were "Fed Agents" and how they knew them.
On December 12, 2019, while the drug task force was conducting surveillance around the Hungry Wolf Restaurant, Atkins was intercepted telling Cole that he was being followed by a black Durango and that it was the drug task force.
On December 17, 2021, Atkins pled guilty.
This case was investigated by the Selmer Police Department, 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force, Decatur County Sheriff’s Office, Lexington Police Department, Dyersburg Police Department, McNairy County Sheriff’s Office, Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI.
On January 4, 2022, Chief U.S. District Judge S. Thomas Anderson sentenced Atkins to 48 months in federal prison to be followed by three years’ supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hillary Lawler Parham prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.