Young Atlanta Drug Dealer Given 19 Years, 7 Months

Friday, July 18, 2008

A young Atlanta drug dealer, who Federal Judge Allan Edgar said was the main supplier for a drug ring based in the Cookeville, Tn., area, was sentenced Thursday to 19 years and seven months in prison.

Attorneys had argued that Kirk Spence was not really the leader in the drug conspiracy. "He couldn't lead a two-horse funeral," attorney Edward Furr Jr. of Decatur, Ga., said.

But Judge Edgar said during the trial he conducted that the contact person in Atlanta was always Spence.

Prosecutors said he supplied over 100 kilos of crack cocaine from Atlanta to the Upper Cumberland from January 2006 until he and 15 others were arrested in January 2007.

Attorney Furr said, "You have a real, soft, sweet, gullible human being here. He got on for the ride, but it was a lot faster ride than he was prepared to take."

He said Spence never made much money off the large-scale drug trafficking, but some in Tennessee "lived high on the hog for an awfully long time."

Spence would have faced a much stiffer sentence had he had a criminal record.

Also Thursday, Judge Edgar sentenced a ringleader in the operation, Joshua "Tubby" Smith to 31 years and eight months.

John Paul Hassler of Cookeville got 18 years and six months, and Brian Maldonado of Crossville was sentenced to serve 15 years and eight months.

In sentencings on Wednesday, Dawn Polites of Cookeville got 33 months and Samantha Renee Reynolds of Cookeville was placed on probation. Grayland Darty and Larry Mahan Jr., both of Cookeville, each got five years. Michael Van Pelt of Baxter, Tn., received six months. Chad Greenwood of Knoxville got 35 months.

Brian Matheny and Richard Kontour, both of Cookeville, received 10-year terms. James Eldridge of Crossville was given 37 months.

Michael V. Smith got a 10-year term, and Anthony Price must do 37 months.

The two-year investigation was conducted by agents from TBI, the 13th Judicial Drug Task Force, the HIDTA Task Force, and Cookeville Police CNET officers.

Two defendants went to trial and the rest pleaded guilty.

Michael V. Smith and Joshua Smith, who are not related, went to trial before Judge Edgar and were convicted on April 25.

Agents said the probe centered on a clothing store “Urban Unlimited” located on West Jackson Street in Cookeville. Agents said the store, owned by Maldonado, was a front for the drug sales.



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALVAREZ, MARCELINO P  207 LAWS AVE #A CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 45 years old Arresting Agency: Tenn Highway Patrol DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE --- ARNOLD, DERRICK  5191 CENTRAL AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37401  Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING ON ... (click for more)

Bradley County Authorities Hold Active Shooter Drill

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Cleveland Fire Department, Bradley County Fire and Rescue, Bradley County 911 Communications Center, and Bradley County Emergency Management Agency took part in an active shooter exercise early this morning at Bradley Central High School to evaluate tactics and technologies for responding to and containing rapidly escalating shooting incidents. ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

All of us who marvel at the sound of bagpipes at a funeral realize the majesty that people like piper Scottie Maclellan can lend to any “homecoming” and for years there has been a wonderful tale out of Nova Scotia that leads this week’s parade of The  Saturday  Funnies. Mind you, I do not write these stories, as many who have followed man’s laughter down through the ... (click for more)

Orange Overwhelms White, 34-7, In Tennessee Spring Game

KNOXVILLE – After almost a month of spring camp and four quarters of ones versus twos, one glaring question remains: how much will the fall arrival of graduate transfer Keller Chryst change the dynamic of the battle for starting quarterback?   While new Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt was calling for an electric atmosphere at Saturday’s Orange and White game, the ... (click for more)

Stoker, Tate Prevail In 50th Chickamauga Chase 15K

They couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day weather-wise for the oldest and longest running race on the Chattanooga Track Club’s schedule. Temperatures were cool, but not cold, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.   Add to that the fact there was very little wind and you have perfect conditions for the 50 th Annual Chickamauga Chase. A lot has changed with this ... (click for more)