2 Chattanooga Men Get Lengthy Sentences On Cocaine Sales In Johnson City

Thursday, September 4, 2014
Ladarius Blunt
Ladarius Blunt
Ladarius Lebron Blunt, 27, and Jeremy Jermaine Whatley, 29, both of Chattanooga, were sentenced Wednesday by Federal Judge Ronnie Greer to serve 188 months and 60 months, respectively, in federal prison. 
 
Both Blunt and Whatley were previously convicted of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine.   
 
Beginning in 2011, law enforcement began investigating a large-scale crack cocaine conspiracy originating out of Chattanooga.  As part of the conspiracy, numerous individuals, including Blunt and Whatley, trafficked kilogram quantities of crack cocaine to Johnson City for resale.
  Private vehicles, taxi cabs, and public transportation were commonly used to transport the drugs.  Many of the coconspirators had ties to street gangs based in Chattanooga, including the Rollin’ 60’s Crips and the Woodlawn Crips.  Upon arrival in Johnson City, Blunt, Whatley and others would distribute their drugs, return to Chattanooga with their drug sale proceeds, purchase additional drugs, and repeat the cycle, agents said.  
 
As part of the investigation, law enforcement conducted a series of controlled drug transactions with Blunt, Whatley and other co-conspirators.  On two separate occasions, Blunt sold crack cocaine to individuals working on behalf of law enforcement.  On two other occasions, Whatley did the same.  Subsequent police actions found both Blunt and Whatley to be in possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute. 
 
One co-conspirator remains to be sentenced in Greeneville.  Numerous others are being prosecuted in Chattanooga.
 
This long-term investigation was the product of a partnership between the Johnson City, Tn. Police Department; Chattanooga Police Department; the Federal Bureau of investigation; and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Assistant United States Attorney Nick Regalia represented the United States. 
 
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce gun laws.  It provides more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure that criminals who commit gun crime face tough sentences.  PSN gives each federal district the flexibility it needs to focus on individual challenges that a specific community faces. 
 
This case was also 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.


Warrants Taken For Girl, 16, After Woman Stabbed Twice During Altercation On Woodside Street

Warrants have been taken for the arrest of a 16-year-old girl after Heidi Swafford, 19, was stabbed twice in an altercation outside a house on Woodside Street on Tuesday afternoon. Warrants were issued against the juvenile for attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault. The Chattanooga Police Department was notified by a local hospital that a female had arrived ... (click for more)

New $45 Court Fee In Criminal Cases To Provide Funding To Partnership For Families, Children And Adults, Children's Advocacy Center

A new $45 court fee assessed to "those who misbehave" will go to the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults and the Children's Advocacy Center. County Mayor Jim Coppinger said $21 would go to each agency per case and the county would get $3. He noted that the two agencies provide valuable services to victims of crimes. The county mayor said the Legislature authorized ... (click for more)

Give Bullet-Proof Vests To Every Black Youth In The City

I heard a report that the Chattanooga police were being given better bullet-proof vests, and I had an idea. What if Chattanooga became known for something besides electric buses and fast internet service? What if Chattanooga provided a bullet-proof vest to every young black man and black youth in the city limits?   I can hear the scoffing as I write, but think about it. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Horses Vs. DesJarlais

It is well-known that shortly after the despicable “Big Lick” faction of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry put on a very-pointed fundraiser for the equally repugnant Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-Jasper) two years ago, the misguided doctor has repeatedly tried to bully and strong-arm the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the behalf of the vermin who sadistically torture the ... (click for more)

TSSAA Sets Future Division I, Division II Classifications

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has released the minutes from Wednesday’s meeting in Hermitage pertaining to football classification period for the 2017-18 and run through 2020-2021 1.  Roll Call 2.  Division I and Division II Classification The Board of Control voted the following for the classification period that ... (click for more)

Mocs Football Picked To Win Socon

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga put a league-high 10 student-athletes on the preseason All-Southern Conference Football Team, picked by the league coaches and released as part of SoCon Media Day.  The Mocs were also the top choice by the coaches and media to win the SoCon title in 2016.  Senior defensive end Keionta Davis is the coaches' selection for SoCon ... (click for more)