A man authorities said was involved in a large conspiracy to distribute deadly fentanyl pills in the Chattanooga area has been sentenced to serve 10 years in federal prison.
Jonathan "Yella Boi" Horton appeared before Judge Curtis Collier.
Prosecutors said in 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Chattanooga Police Department and other law enforcement agencies were investigating the conspiracy.
As part of the investigation, law enforcement utilized many investigative techniques such as: making controlled buys of pills from members of the conspiracy in May, June, and July of 2020, interviewing witnesses and cooperating defendants, surveilling multiple targets through physical surveillance as well as the use of covert cameras, and intercepting telephone conversations and text messages through a series of court-authorized wiretaps from August of 2020 to October of 2020, it was stated.
The investigation revealed that Horton’s role in the conspiracy was to obtain pills from a source of supply in California for distribution in the Chattanooga area.
On Sept. 29 and 30 of 2020, DEA intercepted phone calls and text messages which indicated the defendant was in California and had been provided $30,000 by a co-conspirator to obtain pills.
During an intercepted call, the defendant stated, “I got you 3,000 of ‘em.”
Later, a co-conspirator sent Horton a text message that stated, “6605 Riggins Dr Chattanooga Tenn. 37421” and a separate text that stated, “Sanandra Thornton.”
Prosecutors said on Oct. 2, 2020, DEA intercepted a call in which the defendant stated the “first package” was “already in the mail” and “the second one be in the mail first thing in the morning.” Regarding the two packages the defendant stated, “I think its like forty-six in all of ‘em.”
On Oct. 4, 2020, United States Postal Inspection Service in Chattanooga intercepted a parcel mailed from Santa Clarita, California and addressed to Sanandra Thornton at 6605 Riggins Dr., Chattanooga.
DEA obtained a federal search warrant for the contents of the parcel and located 3,066 small blue pills inside the parcel. The pills were sent to the DEA Laboratory. The pills tested positive for fentanyl. The total weight of the 3,066 pills was 309 grams of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl.
On Oct. 5, 2020, DEA intercepted calls between Horton and a co-conspirator in which he discussed mailing parcels and tracking them. The calls indicated the defendant had possession of one parcel. When asked, “how many in this one,” the defendant stated “16.” The co-conspirator replied, “sixteen hundred?” The defendant replied, “yep,” and later stated, “I know for a fact I got this one in my hand though.”
In later calls, the defendant and co-conspirator discussed the location of the other parcel and question why it had not arrived yet.
Horton admitted that from about May of 2020 to about October of 2020, he conspired with others to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl in the Eastern District of Tennessee and elsewhere.