Two Chattanooga men charged in a major cocaine conspiracy in which large quantities of cocaine were shipped from California have been sentenced to lengthy federal prison terms.
Tommy Lamar Dean was sentenced to 15 years and eight months.
He was 45 at the time of his arrest last April.
Tyrone Parks, who was 53 when he was arrested, got eight years and four months.
They appeared before Judge Travis McDonough.
Conell Langram, who was 38 when arrested, is also charged.
Postal agents in 2016 began investigating a California-based drug traffic organization distributing multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine across the U.S. The group was using the U.S. mail to facilitate shipment and distribution of the illegal narcotics and currency to and from drug purchasers.
Since January 2016 postal agents have identified approximately 228 packages associated with the ring. The recipient addresses included approximately 30 in Chattanooga, including 1214 Belmeade Ave., 711 Gillespie Ave. and 3507 MaArthur Avenue intercepted some of the packages sent in the mail including some at the same time as those sent to Chattanooga addresses. On Jan. 27, the DEA Chattanooga office took part in a controlled delivery of a package originating from California and address to 3507 McArthur Ave.
Law enforcement conducted surveillance and agents on Jan. 27 observed 3507 McArthur Ave. and at 9:42 a.m. they saw a black and orange Chevy Tahoe back into the driveway with the engine running. The headlights to the vehicle were on and the vehicle was occupied by a black male. Agents confirmed that the license plate on the vehicle was registered to Tyrone Parks and the driver was Parks.
Parks drove to 1214 Bellemeade Ave., then he returned to McArthur Avenue and again backed into the drive. When the mail carrier arrived, Parks exited his car, took the package from the carrier, placed it in his vehicle and drove back to Belmeade Avenue.
At Belmeade Avenue he took the box out of the vehicle. After about an hour and a half, a black pickup truck arrived at the residence. The tags on the truck are registered to Tommy Dean. Parks came to the truck and placed a package inside, then the truck left.
Agents followed the truck to Hunter's Point Apartments at 7434 Allemande Way. The truck went into the gated apartments and an unknown black male approached the truck and got into the passenger side. He took the package into Building 11, Apt. 104.
It was confirmed that Dean was the driver of the truck.
On Feb. 8, agents observed Dean leaving Building 11, Apt. 104 of Hunter's Point Apartments. He went in his truck to his home in Ooltewah.
On Sunday, postal officials notified agents of a package addressed to 711 Gillespie Road. A police K-9 was deployed and gave a positive indication of the presence of narcotics. The package was opened and found to contain five kilograms of cocaine.
Agents set up a controlled delivery to 711 Gillespie Road. On Tuesday, an undercover postal inspector delivered the cocaine to the Gillespie Road address. Afterward, Tyrone Parks picked up the package and took it to 7434 Allemande Way, Building 11, Apt. 104.
Agents observed Tommy Dean and Cornell Langram enter the apartment. Tyrone Parks arrived and took the package containing the kilograms of cocaine.
Law enforcement officials then approached the apartment to execute a federal search warrant. Parks and Langram exited as the agents came up the sidewalk to the unit. They were taken into custody along with Dean, who was found inside.
Officers discovered the original shipping box containing the kilograms of cocaine in the apartment.
They also found a bundle of U.S. currency wrapped in plastic in Dean's front pants pocket.