BIRMINGHAM – ATF agents and local task force officers fanned out across Tuscaloosa County today to arrest defendants indicted last month as part of a drug ring trafficking methamphetamine and cocaine in the county, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Gerido and West Alabama Narcotics Task Force Captain Wayne Robertson.
A federal grand jury on April 27 indicted eight Tuscaloosa County residents with the drug-trafficking conspiracy. A 61-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges SANTONY MARKEI NOLAND, 32, also known as Santony Markies Noland,”“San T” and “Black,” SHAKEA CHYNESE PREWITT, 23, CHRISTOPHER KELLEY BOYD, 30, MICHELE DIANE SMITH, 40, also known as Michele Diane Sellers,” TIMOTHY JOE PATTON, 29, also known as “Timothy Joe Harless” and “Money,” KATHERINE LEE CANNON, 39, TREMAINE RAYMOND CANNON, 36, also known as “Juice,” and DANNY RAY BARRON JR., 27, also known as “Drizzle” and “Jug,” with conspiracy to distribute the drugs between December 2016 and March 2017. A federal judge unsealed the indictment following today’s arrests.
The indictment also charges BEVERLY DIANE TUBBS, 33, with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and charges AMY LEEANN BLIZZARD, 33, with possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
Noland and Prewitt were in custody before today’s roundup. This afternoon, nine of the 10 defendants are in custody.
"This investigation has successfully taken down an established cocaine- and methamphetamine-trafficking organization operating in the Tuscaloosa area," Posey said. "This is an outstanding example of how federal, state and local law enforcement, working together, are able to successfully dismantle narcotics smuggling organizations and reduce the availability of illegal drugs on the streets," he said.
“The arrests today have shown that the resources provided by ATF and our partners diminished the violent crime that has affected the neighborhoods within the Tuscaloosa area,” Gerido said.
“Criminals should take note that state, local and federal law enforcement are combining their resources to investigate criminal activity and make our communities safe,” Robertson said.
The indictment includes special findings of the grand jury regarding the amount of methamphetamine and cocaine attributable to various defendants as part of the drug-trafficking conspiracy.
Noland, Prewitt, Boyd and spouses Tremaine and Katherine Cannon are charged with conspiring to traffic 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. That charge carries a minimum 10-year prison sentence and a maximum prison penalty of life. Noland and the Cannons, having previously been convicted in state and federal court for drug trafficking, could face a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison if convicted on the current charges. Smith, Patton, and Barron face a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years on the conspiracy count.
Noland and Prewitt are also charged with multiple counts of distributing methamphetamine, which carries a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum of 40, plus a $5 million fine. Other counts charge Noland and Prewitt with possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, which carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
Boyd also faces a separate count of distributing methamphetamine in February 2017.
Tremaine Cannon and Katherine Cannon face a count of possessing with the intent to distribute or distributing methamphetamine, in February 2017.
The indictment further charges Smith with possessing with the intent to distribute methamphetamine in February 2017.
Barron, along with the conspiracy charge, is also charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a stolen firearm on March 1, 2011.
Along with Tubbs, Noland and Patton also each face a count of illegal gun possession for being convicted felons in possession of a pistol. Patton and Tubbs have convictions in Tuscaloosa Circuit Court.
Noland has multiple felony convictions in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court and a federal felony conviction from the Northern District of Alabama for being a felon in possession of a firearm on a previous occasion.
Thirty-eight counts of the indictment charge various defendants with using telephones to facilitate a drug-trafficking crime.
The remaining distribution and possession with the intent to distribute narcotics charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Each count of using a telephone in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The ATF, WANTF and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case. The task force is composed of officers from the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the Tuscaloosa, Northport and University of Alabama police departments, and the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Felton is prosecuting the case.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.