KNOXVILLE, TN — On July 23, 2021, a federal jury convicted seven Tennessee men in connection to a conspiracy to distribute various controlled substances. The jury also convicted multiple defendants, including Jyshon Forbes, 27, of Knoxville, Tenn., of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Alim Turner, 23, Ushery Stewart, 22, Ronald Turner, 25, Kedaris Gilmore, 23, Mahlon Prater, Jr., 25, and Trevor Cox, 22, of Knoxville, Tenn., and Demetrius Bibbs, 29, of Chattanooga, Tenn., were all convicted of the possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking offenses, illegal distribution of drugs and unlawful possession of firearms in East Tennessee.
The eight defendants were tried together following a two-week trial in front of United States District Judge Thomas A. Varlan. They face varying terms of imprisonment of up to a lifetime and $10,000,000 in fines. Sentencing hearings are set for 2022.
Seven of the defendants were members of the Unknown Ghost Vice Lords in Knoxville. Another defendant, Demetrius Bibbs, was a member of the Black P Stone Bloods in Chattanooga.
Unknown Ghost Vice Lords members distributed kilogram quantities of methamphetamine and other drugs in the Knoxville and Chattanooga areas, according to the court evidence.
“This prosecution is part of the Department of Justice’s comprehensive strategy to reduce violence and increase safety in the community by disrupting and dismantling violent criminal organizations that distribute highly addictive, dangerous, and deadly drugs, such as fentanyl and methamphetamine,” said Acting United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III.
“This verdict demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to investigate violent criminal organizations and individuals who engage in this type of illegal activity. The teamwork between our agents and state and local law enforcement partners ensured there are fewer predators endangering and victimizing the vulnerable and innocent members of our community,” said Joseph E. Carrico, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Knoxville office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“This conviction is the result of the vigorous cumulative efforts of the Knoxville Police Department and its law enforcement and prosecutorial partners to address violent crime head on and make our community safer,” said Eve Thomas, chief of Knoxville Police Department.
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