GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On February 13, 2019, following a two-day trial in the U.S. District Court, before the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, Senior U.S. District Judge, a jury convicted Brandon Lee Alexander, 36, of Morristown, Tennessee, of possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; possession with the intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Sentencing is set for 9:00 a.m., June 3, 2019, in U.S. District Court in Greeneville.
Alexander faces a minimum sentence of 15 years to a maximum of life in prison. There is no parole in the federal system.
Evidence presented at trial revealed that as a result of a traffic stop by the Morristown Police Department in April 2017, Alexander was found to have 28 grams of methamphetamine in his waistband and also possess $11,580 cash and a loaded semi-automatic pistol. Alexander was arrested and released on bond the following day. In May 2017, Alexander was again pulled over by law enforcement and had 100 grams of methamphetamine in his possession.
Alexander was part of a 20-defendant indictment returned by the federal grand jury in February 2018 charging various offenses related to methamphetamine trafficking, firearms, and money laundering. All defendants except Alexander pleaded guilty.
The investigation leading to the indictment was the product of a partnership between the Morristown Police Department, Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department, Grainger County Sheriff’s Office, Cocke County Sheriff’s Office, Newport Police Department, Third Judicial Drug Task Force, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area - Rocky Top Task Force, Third Judicial District Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas A. McCauley and J. Christian Lampe represented the United States at trial.
The investigation was a result of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.
This case was also part of the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program. The HIDTA program enhances and coordinates drug control efforts among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The program provides agencies with coordination, equipment, technology, and additional resources to combat drug trafficking and its harmful consequences in critical regions of the United States. The program began in 1988 when Congress authorized the Director of The Office of National Drug Control Policy designate areas within the United States that exhibit serious drug trafficking problems and harmfully impact other areas of the country as HIDTAs.