32 Charged In Federal Court After Multi-Year Investigation

Monday, November 4, 2013

Officials announced at a press conference Monday that 32 people have been indicted after a multi-year investigation, including some of Chattanooga's "most violent offenders."

Mayor Andy Berke said it was "an important day in our fight to rid the community of violence." 

He gave an example of the prior convictions of one of the men they picked up with multiple assault charges, multiple drug possession charges, and attempted second-degree murder against police charges.

He said, "This will tell individuals in our community associated with violence that this must end. This will end. Today is a good day for Chattanooga." 

Prosecutor Chris Poole said the individuals are charged with dealing in large amounts of cocaine.

He said they face at least 10 years to life in prison. He said some face 20 years to life and others may get mandatory life sentences.

Indictments charge Robert Stephon North, 34, of Chattanooga; Juanzell Jenkins, 37, of Adairsville, Ga.; Joe Jenkins, 40, of Chattanooga; Jumoke Johnson, Jr., 20, of Chattanooga; Shannon D. Mitchell, 29, of Chattanooga; Gerald Toney, 33, of Chattanooga; Dejuan Cooper, 23, of Chattanooga; Guy L. Wilkerson, Jr., 20, of Chattanooga; Rodney Harris II, 22, of Chattanooga; Frank White, 30, of Chattanooga; Valentino Harris, 28, of Chattanooga; Torrey Gilmore, 38, of Chattanooga; Reginald D. Oakley, 39, of Chattanooga; Tommy Ryals, 34, of Atlanta; Juane Joseph, 19, of Chattanooga; Leonita Blackmon, 32, of Chattanooga; LaJeromeny Brown, 35, of Chattanooga; Kenneth Hopkins, 49, of Chattanooga; Kentarius Nealy, 20, of Chattanooga; Idriss Barr, 29, of Chattanooga; Adrian Washington, 36, of Chattanooga; Milo E. Geiger, 36, of Chattanooga; Jerry Wayne Alexander, Jr., 41, of Chattanooga; Johnny Caldwell, Jr., 44, of Chattanooga; Garry Brown, 24, of Chattanooga; Robert Siler, 27, of Chattanooga; and Thaddius L. Humphrey, 32, of Chattanooga, with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack”), and/or five kilograms or more of cocaine.  

Derrick L. Smith, 22, of Chattanooga, is charged with possession of cocaine base (“crack”) with the intent to distribute it.  Donte Taylor, 27, of Chattanooga; Rahmon Christian, 21, of Chattanooga; and Tramale Johnson, 25, of Chattanooga, are charged with being convicted felons in possession of firearms.  Johnson is also charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.  Finally, Stephone L. Reed, 23, of Chattanooga, is charged with car-jacking, brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

The coordinated arrests of these individuals by federal, state and local law enforcement began on Monday morning. The arrested individuals will be appearing in U.S. District Court Monday afternoon and throughout the remainder of the week. 
 
If convicted, the individuals charged with conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack”), and/or five kilograms or more of cocaine face a sentence of at least 10 years to life.  Depending on their previous criminal histories, these individuals could face a sentence of 20 years to life or even a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.  If convicted Derrick L. Smith faces up to 20 years in prison.   If convicted Donte Taylor, Rahmon Christian, and Tramale Johnson face at least 0-10 years in prison, and possibly 15 years to life depending on their previous felony convictions.  If convicted Stephone L. Reed faces 0-15 years in prison for carjacking, plus seven years to life for brandishing the firearm during a crime of violence.  Any of these individuals who are convicted would also face a potential fine, restitution, and a period of supervised release.  Sentences in federal court are served without the possibility of parole.
                               
This indictment is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Chattanooga Police Department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Red Bank Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Poole and Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Regalia and Meredith Edwards will represent the United States. 
 


St. Elmo Check Into Cash Employee Robbed At Gunpoint

A Check Into Cash clerk was robbed at gunpoint on Monday evening. Investigators with the Chattanooga Police Department responded at 6:34 p.m. to a robbery from a business at 3801 Tennessee Ave. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the store clerk, and the  clerk reported speaking with the suspect who then brandished a pistol.  The suspect walked the clerk ... (click for more)

Some Closings And Delays Set Tuesday Due To Inclement Weather

Marion, Grundy and Polk schools are closed Tuesday due to the expected inclement weather. Hamilton County Schools will be on a two-hour delay on   Tuesday . School Age Child Care will be closed. 12-month employees will report on regular schedule.  Walker County Transit will be closed Tuesday . Walker County Schools will be on a two-hour delay. (click for more)

The City Failed To Watch The Chattanooga History Museum Dollars - And Response (3)

The tell tale signs of the History Museum's folly have been evident for years. When I was a former member of City Council I interviewed Dr. Daryl Black, Ph.D. to determine if I should argue for or against the annual funding of his organization. His interview, the multi-year history of administrative non-performance (despite consistent repetitive funding), and a review of the organizational ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Momma Bears Roar

If I could count Hamilton County’s best educators on one hand, Normal Park Elementary Principal Jill Levine would be the biggest finger. What she and her faculty and a dazzling commitment from both her students and parents have accomplished is an educational dream. I am told people literally move to North Chattanooga just so their children will be zoned for the award-winning school. ... (click for more)

Bradley Edges Cleveland, 88-86, On Copeland Game-Winner In Fourth OT

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Monday turned into a more bang for your bucks night at Jim Smiddy Arena. But, the capacity crowd probably should have expected the bargain. Back on Dec. 8, Bradley Central knocked off bitter rival Cleveland in an overtime thriller. On Monday, the two teams took a walk on the wild side in a colossal four-overtime, 88-86, District 5-3A barn-burner ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Softball Picked To Win SoCon Title

The Chattanooga Mocs have been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2016 Southern Conference softball title by the league's head coaches. Senior second baseman Criket Blanco was named Preseason First-Team All-SoCon and sophomore pitcher Cori Jennings, senior shortstop Alyssa Taylor and senior outfielder Sam Taylor were selected to the Preseason Second-Team All-SoCon. ... (click for more)