Thursday, September 4 2014, 10:08 AM EDT
Two Chattanooga Men Convicted of Johnson City Crack Cocaine Ring
Two Chattanooga men convicted in connection with a drug ring that supplied Johnson City with crack cocaine have been sentenced in federal court for their crimes.
27-year-old Ladarius Lebron Blunt was sentenced to 15 & 2/3rds years behind bars. 29-year-old Jeremy Jermaine Whatley was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Both were sentenced in federal court by Judge Ronnie Greer on Wednesday.
Both Blunt and Whatley were previously convicted of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine.
Starting in 2011, law enforcement began investigating a large-scale crack cocaine conspiracy originating out of Chattanooga. As part of the conspiracy, several people, including Blunt and Whatley, repeatedly drove several kilograms of crack cocaine to Johnson City for resale.
The men used private vehicles - but also even taxi cabs, and public transportation to run the drugs.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee William Killian says many of the co-conspirators had ties to street gangs based in Chattanooga, including the Rollin’ 60’s Crips and the Woodlawn Crips.
Upon arrival in Johnson City, Blunt, Whatley and others would distribute their drugs, return to Chattanooga with their drug sale proceeds, purchase additional drugs, and repeat the cycle.
As part of the investigation, law enforcement conducted a series of controlled drug transactions with Blunt, Whatley and other co-conspirators. On two separate occasions, Blunt sold crack cocaine to individuals working on behalf of law enforcement. On two other occasions, Whatley did the same. Police found crack cocaine with intent to distribute on both Blunt and Whatley when officers arrested them.
Attorney Killian says one co-conspirator remains to be sentenced in Greeneville. Numerous others are being prosecuted in Chattanooga.