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. 
 


Uses For Discarded Glass To Be One Of Focuses Of Green/Spaces City Recycling Grant

Finding possible uses for discarded glass will be one of the focuses for Green/Spaces under a $40,000 grant from the city related to recycling. Justin Holland, city public works director, said glass is "the most challenging" aspect in recycling at this time due to the lack of markets for recycled glass. Green/Spaces is "to launch an expansive educational marketing campaign ... (click for more)

Woman Makes Commotion At Erlanger; Assaults Officers

Susan Teresa Jones is facing a variety of charges after police said she made a commotion at Erlanger Hospital and assaulted several officers, including biting and kicking them. Ms. Jones, 54, is charged with two counts of assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, aggravated assault on police and criminal trespass. In the incident on Sunday, security officers were notified ... (click for more)

Something Beautiful Happened Monday Night - Not The Debate

Monday, Sept. 26, our first presidential debate happened; no minds were changed.  Yet something beautiful and important happened.  The Atlanta Falcons, my team, played the New Orleans Saints.  Instead of some irrelevant, broad based, screw America protest, the opposing teams locked arms in unity. I was impressed. I have been a Falcon Fan since 1971 when WMOC AM ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our 2.0 Embarrassment

Let’s pretend you are coming to a new and exciting world. You are on the jolly good ship “Mayflower” when some Miles Standish-type of a guy (he was the Pilgrim’s first cop) calls you into is presence and says, “Within two hours we are expected to stand on Plymouth Rock. Please come up with ten primary goals we should have in our public schools.” I believe you could do it within ... (click for more)

Smart Running: Vradenburgh, Boyd Win Again

There’s a lesson to be learned for those young folks who choose cross country as their sport in the fall:  It’s impossible to win a race in the first mile, but you can surely lose one in that same space. As anyone with much running experience can verify, the fastest person doesn’t always win.  Running smart and using a tactical approach with planned pacing often produces ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Wins 7-AA After Beating Notre Dame

The Signal Mountain Lady Eagles took care of business at home Tuesday night as they swept visiting Notre Dame by scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-19 to claim first place in District 7-AA with a 10-0 district mark and 30-8 overall. Audrie Johnson had 11 kills while Kate Barry added 17 digs and 11 assists.  Nicole Terfloth finished with 18 digs and three aces for the winners ... (click for more)