DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
J. Douglas Overbey
, United States Attorney
Contact: Sharry Dedman-Beard

Lead Defendants in Methamphetamine Distribution Conspiracy Sentenced to Serve Time in Federal Prison

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On April 17, 2018, David Byron Jones, 61, of Chatsworth, Georgia, was sentenced by the Honorable R. Leon Jordan, Senior U.S. District Court Judge, to serve 180 months in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (meth) in the Eastern District of Tennessee. 

Jones pleaded guilty in January 2018. According to his plea agreement on file with U.S. District Court, he admitted to being responsible for at least 1.5 kilograms but less than 4.5 kilograms of actual meth. 

In 2016, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies working together began an investigation into an evolving meth distribution network that was distributing multiple kilogram quantities of meth in and around Hawkins County, Tennessee.  Jones, who lived in north Georgia, supplied this organization with kilograms of meth that was then distributed by members of conspiracy, most of whom were from Hawkins County, Tennessee.  One of his distributors, Jonathan Delph, 51, of Rogersville, Tennessee, was sentenced in March 2018 to serve 210 months in federal prison after pleading guilty and admitting to being responsible for at least 1.5 kilograms but less than 4.5 kilograms of actual meth.   

The convictions of Jones and Delph are the result of a 49-count indictment that also charged the following individuals for their roles in the conspiracy:

  • Clay Seals, Jr., 51, of Surgoinsville, Tennessee
  • Stephanie Bailey, 50, of Hawkins County, Tennessee
  • Donna Strong, 54, a/k/a Donna Dunbar, of Surgoinsville, Tennessee
  • Curtis Carpenter, 43, of Whitesburg, Tennessee
  • Jerry Robinette, 48, of Rogersville, Tennessee
  • Edward Smith, 52, of Rogersville, Tennessee
  • Tyler Delph, 25, of Rogersville, Tennessee
  • Scottie Delph, 49, of Rogersville, Tennessee
  • James Michael Whitaker, 54, of Rogersville, Tennessee
  • Paul Bledsoe Jr., 43, of Morristown, Tennessee
  • William West, 58, a/k/a Bump, of Rogersville, Tennessee
  • Frankie Benton, 34, of Hawkins County, Tennessee
  • James Dwayne Byington, 50, of Rogersville, Tennessee
  • Leonard Brad Eidson, 43, of Bull’s Gap, Tennessee
  • Phillip Burton, 49, a/k/a Burger, of Rogersville, Tennessee
  • Toby Jones, 40, of Chatsworth, Georgia

All of the individuals charged in this case have been convicted of conspiring to distribute meth.  Several have already been sentenced in U.S. District Court and the remainder are scheduled to be sentenced between now and June 12, 2018.  

The ongoing investigation leading to the indictment was the product of a partnership between Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department, Third Judicial Drug Task Force, Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area - Rocky Top Task Force, Third Judicial District Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Christian Lampe represents the United States in court proceedings.  

The investigation is a result 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.

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Field Division: Nashville Field Division