The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) announced 39 indictments after undercover officers followed a violent drug trafficking organization with ties to at least three states for almost two years.

The investigation began in March 2020 and focused on “those trafficking illicit drugs” within Knoxville, Tennessee, and the surrounding counties of Georgia and Indiana.

Through multiple search warrants, traffic stops, and extensive surveillance operations, agents seized large quantities of illegal narcotics that were primarily supplied from individuals residing in Indiana and Georgia. Officers also seized multiple firearms from convicted felons and other prohibited individuals who were not allowed to have firearms in their possession.

“This operation is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when agencies work together,” said TBI Director David Rausch. “These dangerous drugs and the violence fueled by those dealing them is having a devastating impact on Knoxville and other areas in East Tennessee. That’s why we have a lot more work to do and will continue to target drug traffickers in our state.”

Agents with the TBI’s Drug Investigation Division worked alongside agents with the 5th Judicial Drug Task Force, the Knoxville Police Department, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Muncie (Indiana) Police Department, and the Murray County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office to conduct surveillance as well as “multiple controlled purchases of narcotics.”

On December 15, 2021, the Knox County Grand Jury returned indictments, resulting in 39 charges in connection to the investigation.

“There are challenges facing all law enforcement in the war against drugs, and it takes us all working together to truly make a difference,” said Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler. “I’m proud of the efforts of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit and all agencies involved in this case.“

At the time of the TBI’s statement release, 28 individuals were arrested and charged:

  • Juan Carlos Brown of Muncie, IN
  • Chase Hamilton-Roberts Foster of Muncie, IN
  • James Joseph Robbins of Knoxville, TN
  • Joseph Ervin Bobo of Knoxville, TN
  • Sherry Reneigh Blair of Sevierville, TN
  • Dateshia Ivynese Goins of Knoxville, TN
  • Brad Ashley Neubert of Knoxville, TN
  • Barbie Miller Swann of Knoxville, TN
  • Madonna Michelle Hicks of Knoxville, TN
  • Melissa Joy Hasy of Knoxville, TN
  • Shannon Menendez Hipsher of Knoxville, TN
  • Steven Michael Gillespie of Knoxville, TN
  • David Lawson David of Knoxville, TN
  • Clyde Lawrence Conley of Knoxville, TN
  • Christopher Lynn Brewer of Nashville, TN
  • Karena Louise Latham of Sevierville, TN
  • Howard Edward Wilson of Marion, VA
  • Chrysten Arielle Evans of Johnson City, TN
  • Robert Leroy Mallory Jr. of Maryville, TN
  • Jason Randall Shirley of Maryville, TN
  • Zackary Austin Manis of Dalton, GA
  • Derik Ramsey Sifford of Seymour, TN
  • Ashleigh Joann Loposser of Seymour, TN
  • James Edward Gilchrist Jr. of Knoxville, TN
  • Theodore Dealexander Anthonijs of Knoxville, TN
  • Andrew Jordon Shuler of Knoxville, TN
  • Rashid Shahid Ross of Indianapolis, IN
  • Toshiba Keyawna Hinton of Knoxville, TN

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Morgan Nicole Veysey is a reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow her on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]