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Friday, February 17, 2017

Cocaine conspiracy
A joint investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Cocke County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration has led to the indictment of five people charged in connection with a cocaine trafficking operation centered in Cocke County. In June 2015, TBI Special Agents with the Drug Investigation Division, working alongside detectives with the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office and DEA Agents, began investigating a drug trafficking organization believed to be distributing cocaine throughout Cocke and Jefferson Counties. The investigation revealed that Miguel Perez, 36, Gilberto Cortes, 40, Samantha Faye Hill, 31, Armando Tovar Chavez, 37 and Tony Velasques,39, were responsible for distributing a large amount of cocaine between June, 2015 and July, 2016. The Cocke County Grand Jury this week returned sealed presentments charging Perez, of Newport, and Cortes, of Parrottsville, with one count of Conspiracy to Distribute more than 300 Grams of Cocaine, one count of Sale of more than .5 Grams of Cocaine and one count of Delivery of more than .5 grams of Cocaine. Hill, and Velasques, both of Newport, along with Tovar Chavez of Morristown, are charged with one count of Conspiracy to Distribute more than 300 Grams of Cocaine. Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes said officers from his department along with agents from the DEA and TBI served the indictments at three separate residences in Cocke County on Wednesday. They went to the home of Cortez and arrested him on the indictment. Officers observed narcotic related evidence in plain view and Agent Chuck Evans, a DEA task force officer employed by Cocke County, obtained a search warrant for the residence. Upon execution of the search warrant, approximately 9.5 ounces of cocaine and approximately 6.5 ounces of marijuana were discovered. Officers seized three vehicles, the narcotics, packaging material, $4,700.00 in currency and a cocaine press designed to compress cocaine into kilogram bricks. Tovar Chavez, Shannon's Little Mountain Road, Morristown, was arrested Thursday afternoon after he was involved in a two-vehicle crash on South Highway 321 at the Armory Road intersection. Sheriff Fontes said a mother and her three children were injured when Tovar Chavez pulled from Armory Road, causing the crash. Deputy Lt. Michael Whitmer who investigated the collision, said he recognized the suspect's name as the man wanted on the sealed presentment. He was taken into custody on the cocaine conspiracy charge as well as charges stemming from the collision including driving without a license, failure to yield the right of way and failure to exercise due care. The identities of the occupants of the second vehicle have not been released. The four were taken by First Call EMS to the Newport Medical Center for treatment following the 3:30 p.m. collision. Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement also was contacted concerning the immigration status of the individuals arrested. "This operation has disrupted a major flow of Cocaine and Marijuana into the Cocke County community," the sheriff said. "As sheriff of this community, I will continue to work with partnering agencies to crack down on illegal drugs and will enforce the immigration laws especially pertaining to non-US citizens who are involved in criminal activity. I congratulate my officers on a job well done. " Further charges are pending with regard to the narcotics discovered at the Cortes residence. All four suspects were booked into the Cocke County Jail. Perez, Cortes, Tovar Chavez and Velasques are being held without bond. Hill is being held on a $25,000 bond.


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Saturday, April 22, 2017

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  • Talbott woman dies in cycle crash
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  •    

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