published Saturday, March 1st, 2014

East Tennessee meth sweep nets 20 suspects

A federal grand jury in Knoxville has indicted 20 people, including five Sweetwater, Tenn., residents, on charges they conspired to make methamphetamine.

The indictments were announced in a news release from U.S. Attorney Bill Killian, who said the defendants were buying pseudoephedrine at area pharmacies and using it to make methamphetamine in Lenoir City, Loudon and Sweetwater.

The release said those charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth included Sweetwater residents Linda F. Pesterfield, 40; John G. Roberts, 38; Randy P. Brewster, 19; Mandy L. Moser, 36, and Tracy D. Lowrey, 31.

Also indicted were Lenoir City residents Jeremy T. Palmer, 36; Adam W. Norman, 33; Ebony L. Gallaher, 27; Christy J. Givens, 39; Robert L. Smith, 27; Sherry R. Barr, 45; Eugenia D. Taylor, 31; Kenny R. O'Dell, 34; Miranda R. Lankford, 32; Cynthia E. Rowe, 35, and Lester S. Willis, 61.

The remaining defendants are Phillip B. Richardson, 23, and William C. Crew, 32, both of Philadelphia, Tenn.; Amanda R. Spencer, 23, of Knoxville; and Joshua L. Ferguson, 30, of Loudon, Tenn.

Pesterfield, Roberts, Palmer, Norman, Brewster, Moser and Gallaher also were charged with conspiring to distribute meth, according to the release.

Roberts and Palmer were indicted on firearms violations, including being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

If convicted, all defendants could be sentenced to serve from 10 years to life and fined up to $10 million, according to the news release. Roberts and Palmer face additional time if convicted on the firearms charges.

The release said the charges came after a joint investigation by the 9th Judicial Drug Task Force, the Loudon, McMinn and Monroe sheriffs' offices, the Lenoir City Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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