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Press Release

Texas Source of Supply Sentenced to 174 Months for Trafficking Cocaine

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

Memphis, TN – A Brownsville, Texas man has been sentenced to 174 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute and distribution of 20 kilograms of cocaine. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the sentence today.

According to information presented in court, on September 25, 2017, an agent with the West Tennessee Drug Task Force stoppedMelvin Bullock and Tellerick Simon for a traffic violation on I-40. During that stop, the agent became suspicious of Bullock after he gave several false answers and provided a fake driver's license. The agent utilized his canine, who was alerted to the presence of narcotics. A subsequent search revealed 20 individually wrapped bundles of cocaine located in the back seat. The total weight of the cocaine was approximately 50 pounds.

DEA agents traced the drugs to Jose Manuel Escobedo in Brownsville, Texas. The agents discovered Escobedo received the cocaine in Brownsville after it was smuggled over the border from Mexico. Escobedo would then send the cocaine to Houston, Texas, where he coordinated the retrieval by Bullock and Simon. The drugs came through Memphis en route to East Tennessee.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Interstate 40 is a major drug trafficking corridor into and through West Tennessee. Disrupting drug trafficking organizations and interdicting the flow of poisonous drugs into our communities is a top priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and we work with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to remain vigilant in the fight against foreign and domestic drug suppliers. Drug trafficking is not a victimless crime, and this significant federal sentence sends a message that such criminal activity will not be tolerated."

On November 30, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman sentenced Escobedo to 174 months in federal prison. Simon pleaded guilty to trafficking 20 kilograms on June 14, 2018. Bullock pleaded guilty to the same crime on July 27, 2018.

This case was investigated by the West Tennessee Drug Task Force, an extension of the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Griffith prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.


Cherri Green
Public Information Officer

Updated December 3, 2018