Trio Charged In Chattanooga Fentanyl Ring Get Federal Prison Time

  • Saturday, May 27, 2023

Three men have been given federal prison time in connection with a fentanyl ring based in Chattanooga.

Brandon “Lil Buddha” Rakestraw received 48 months. Michael Garrick got 46 months and Corey Long 42 months. After they get out of prison they will be on supervised released for three years.

On April 26, 2022, a federal grand jury in Chattanooga returned a four-count indictment against 10 individuals: Garrick, Rakestraw, Long and Marquis Rollins, also known as “Quez,” also known as “Q”; Emanuel Rollins, also known as “E Man”; Malik Young; Keunte Suttles, also known as “Kay Kay Watts”;  Xavier Bickerstaff; Michael Jones, Jr., also known as “Mike Watts”; and Taurus Moore, all of Chattanooga.

The indictment alleges that between November 2021 and March 2022, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing Fentanyl and 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

The indictment was the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Chattanooga Resident Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Chattanooga Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, and Red Bank Police Department. Numerous agencies from the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force assisted in the investigation.

The investigation was conducted as part 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.

The investigation was also conducted as part of DEA’s Operation Overdrive. Launched February 1, 2022, Operation Overdrive uses a data-driven, intelligence-led approach to identify and dismantle criminal drug networks operating in areas with the highest rates of violence and overdoses. DEA, working in partnership with its fellow federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, has mapped the threats and initiated enforcement operations against those networks in 34 locations across 23 states in the initial phase of Operation Overdrive.

Kevin Brown is the prosecutor.

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