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Press Release

McNairy County Man Pleads Guilty to His Involvement in a Drug Trafficking Organization

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


Jackson, TN – Nickolas Atkins, 41, a resident of Selmer, Tennessee has pled guilty to his role in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney announced the guilty plea today.

In March 2018, a joint-task force investigation was initiated into the activities of a Drug Trafficking Organization run by Timmy Jermaine Cole (Cole). The investigation involved the trafficking of large quantities of methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine from individuals in Mexico into West Tennessee for distribution. Nickolas Atkins (Atkins) was a member of the drug conspiracy to distribute over 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and hydrocodone pills.

On April 15, 2019, a federal grand jury for the Western District of Tennessee, Eastern Division, returned a three-count Indictment against Timmy Jermaine Cole, Lynnie Ray

Pettigrew, Rolando Garibaldi-Alvarado, Juan Javier Acosta-Melendez, Kelvin Pettigrew, Anthony McElrath, Nickolas Atkins, Marcus Canty, Richard Trevino, Bayrin Hinson, Cornelius Talley, Robert Winters, Steven Williams, Scotty Tubbs, and Cindy Cannon.

After his arrest, Atkins was released on bond. During his pre-trial release, law enforcement officers utilizing a confidential informant, purchased hydrocodone pills while Atkins was on bond. Atkins was re-arrested by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for distributing approximately 600 hydrocodone pills. His pre-trial bond was revoked and Atkins was detained. Thereafter, Atkins was indicted for possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of hydrocodone pills.

During Atkins’ change of plea hearing on October 13, he admitted to being a member of the Cole drug conspiracy and admitted to distributing over 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, 3 ounces of cocaine, 100 pounds of marijuana and 600 hydrocodone pills.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 21, 2021, before Chief U.S. District Judge S. Thomas Anderson, where Atkins faces a sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There is no parole in the federal system.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Criminal enterprises that distribute harmful drugs into our rural communities can no longer hide. We are taking the fight to the drug trafficking organizations in order to dismantle them and remove them from our streets."

The case was investigated by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, Selmer Police Department, McNairy County Sheriff's Department, Hardeman County Sheriff's Department, Decatur County Sheriff's Department, Lexington Police Department, Dyersburg Police Department, 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force and Jackson Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorney Jerry Kitchen and Assistant United States Attorney Hillary Parham are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.


Updated October 16, 2020