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.


Chatsworth Man Dies In Motorcycle Wreck In Decatur, Tn.

A 51-year-old Chatsworth, Ga., man died in a motorcycle accident in Decatur, Tn. on Monday. Mitchell Leroy Green did not stop at a red light at the Highway 60 Bridge, the Tennessee Highway Patrol said. The stop light was in place due to a one-lane construction zone on the bridge. The cyclist rear-ended a pickup truck. He was a member of the Bakewell Bible Church.  ... (click for more)

Police Cordon Off Large Section At Renaissance Park; Police Say Incident Was Suicide

Police on Wednesday morning cordoned off a large section of Renaissance Park. One observer said it appeared that a body had been found near hills where park visitors slide down on cardboard. The location is across from the Business Development Center. Police later said it was a suicide. (click for more)

Police Need To Stop The Road Cowboys

Where is our highway patrol?  If they were known to regularly patrol our interstate highways through our city I don't think it would take long before the "truckers" were aware of it.  There are places in our country where this is the case.   When I have traveled Interstates 24 and 75 I may see the occasional car pulled over but rarely if ever is it an 18-wheeler. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden This July

As the month of July dawns this morning, a walk through my garden shows some flowers blooming, my marigolds dying, and the grass is greener than I thought it would be. But as I look for what’s good and what’s bad, let’s remember that some firecrackers pop while others fizzle. Here we go… A BANG to career criminal Whitely Bulger, the 85-year-old master criminal who in a recent ... (click for more)

Football Mocs No. 5 In Lindy’s Sports Preseason FCS Top 25

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga grabbed another preseason top 10 national ranking.  The Mocs are No. 5 in Lindy’s Sports FCS Top 25 heading into the 2015 campaign. This is UTC’s highest preseason ranking of any of the major publications that released a poll for the Football Championship Subdivision.  Chattanooga is No. 8 in the both the Sporting News ... (click for more)

Madison Hayes To Compete In National Pitch, Hit and Run Compitition

    Ooltewah's Madison Hayes is one of 24 national finalists for the 2015 Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit & Run program presented by Scotts, the official youth skills competition of Major League Baseball, were announced Monday live on MLB  Tonight  on MLB Network. These 24 boys and girls will compete at the National Finals and participate in ... (click for more)