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Joe Jenkins
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Johnny Caldwell Jr.

Two of the 34 Chattanooga men caught in a four-year federal cocaine conspiracy investigation were sentenced to prison Monday in U.S. District Court.

Joe Jenkins, 42, was sentenced to five years. He faced cocaine charges in 2013 after federal investigators used wiretaps to listen to conversations Jenkins had with his brother about selling drugs.

Jenkins, called one of the city's "worst of the worst" drug offenders when authorities revealed the bust in November 2013, pleaded guilty earlier this year.

He will receive credit for the 21 months he already has served in the Bradley County Jail and will serve four years of supervised release after he finishes his sentence, U.S. District Judge Harry Mattice said Monday.

Jenkins' attorney, Leslie Cory, previously argued that the wiretaps of Jenkins and his brother's conversations should not be allowed in court.

On Monday, Jenkins' mother, Deatrice Craddock, said the sentence was what she expected. She added that the case has been going on for a long time.

"We got to move on," she said.

Johnny Caldwell Jr., 45, was sentenced to 10 years on charges stemming from the same bust. He also pleaded guilty and part of his plea agreement included the 10-year sentence, which Mattice formalized Monday.

Caldwell will serve three years of supervised release after he serves his sentence, Mattice said. Before the sentence was pronounced, Caldwell's attorney, Paul Cross, told the judge that Caldwell was "a good man."

"He's had his bumps in the road and he is forthright about that," Cross said. "But underneath, he is a good man."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas.

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