Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
Four More Individuals Sentenced in Large A-PVP Conspiracy
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Four more individuals involved in an extensive a-PVP (alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone) distribution conspiracy centered in northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia and western North Carolina have been sentenced to serve time in federal prison by the Honorable Pamela L. Reeves, U.S. District Court Judge.
Brian Edward Hawkins, 44, of Kingsport, Tenn., was sentenced to serve 99 months; Brett Thomas Carroll, 30, of Kingsport, Tenn., was sentenced to serve 90 months; Tony Ray Norton, 27, of Greeneville, Tenn., was sentenced to serve 110 months; and Kendra Michelle Poe, 28, of Church Hill, Tenn., was sentenced to serve 63 months. Thirteen others who were previously sentenced in this conspiracy received prison sentences ranging from 110 to 235 months.
According to the plea agreements on file with U.S. District Court, the combined aggregate total of a-PVP stipulated to by Hawkins, Carroll, Norton and Poe was approximately 14,300 grams. Police reports filed as exhibits to sentencing memoranda document that in September 2015 Hawkins led officers on a high speed car chase reaching over 100 mph. Hawkins later admitted in his plea agreement that he ran from the police on that occasion and swallowed approximately 20 grams of a-PVP to avoid getting caught with it.
A-PVP is a synthetic drug, primarily ordered from China, which is commonly referred to on the street as “gravel” or “flakka.” Common effects on users include: extreme paranoia; hallucinations; elevated blood pressure; extremely high body temperature; excited delirium; staying awake for days; hostility and having exceptional strength without apparent fatigue. These are many of the characteristics of the drug that make it very dangerous for the user but also for law enforcement responding to people who are high on it. A-PVP has been referred to by users of the substance as “meth on steroids.”
Law enforcement agencies participating in this investigation included the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Homeland Security Investigations; Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office; Kingsport Police Department; Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department; Johnson City Police Department; Greeneville, Tennessee Police Department; Hendersonville, North Carolina Police Department; and Scott County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Taylor represented the United States.