A group of Lincoln County, Tenn., men have been sentenced in an ongoing methamphetamine conspiracy to federal prison terms ranging from six to 14 years.
The most recent, and last, to be sentenced was 41-year-old Shane Howell, of Flintville. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years by U.S. District Judge Harry S. "Sandy" Mattice for a single count of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine.
Court documents show that Howell and fellow Flintville resident William Shane Reid, 34, along with Fayetteville residents William Scott Cunningham, 34, and James Thomas Hobbs, 32, are believed to be responsible for more than 500 grams of methamphetamine production or distribution through the conspiracy.
The meth production and distribution lasted from at least March 2009 until July 24, 2012.
Prosecutor Terra Bay had tied Reid to at least three dates of distribution in her court filings -- May 21, June 1 and Dec. 8 of 2011.
Howell was charged in a single instance on Dec. 22, 2011.
Hobbs was charged with distribution on Feb. 12, 2012.
All four men agreed to plead guilty to a single charge rather than face trial, according to court documents.
In exchange for a plea, additional charges against the men were dismissed.
ATF agents seized several amounts of finished meth at laboratories in Lincoln County during the investigation with the help of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Bill Killian.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...