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11 indicted in alleged conspiracy to distribute marijuana, fentanyl in West Tennessee

Authorities investigated marijuana and fentanyl pills coming from Washington and California being distributed in West Tennessee.

JACKSON, Tenn. — Drug charges have been filed against 11 people accused of distributing marijuana and fentanyl in West Tennessee.

U.S. Attorney Joseph C. Murphy Jr. announced on Thursday that on July 12, 2021, 11 people were indicted with a second superseding indictment filed on Dec. 14, 2021. Authorities said they investigated marijuana and fentanyl pills coming from Washington and California being distributed in West Tennessee.

The following people are accused of being involved:

  • Vinson Taylor Jr.
  • Alexis Ballard
  • Isaiah A. Gauldin
  • Ja’Quon Roberson
  • Savontay Laquar Womack-Knight
  • Cooper Keeling Hurt
  • David LaFonta Ray Jr.
  • Quason Brent Taylor
  • Jaci Rinae Neary
  • Dwanyae Smith
  • Daniel Michael Gutierrez

Since the original indictment, a search warrant was executed at Womack-Knight and Neary's home in Lakewood, Washington, where two guns, $48,405 in cash, jewelry, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and numerous pills with fentanyl were found. 

Based upon the investigation, evidence showed Womack-Knight would mail the drugs to Taylor Jr. who would then distribute them among the others involved. All 11 people have been arrested.

Using social media, search warrants, traffic stops, search warrants with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and search warrants from homes, the FBI, U.S. Postal Service and the Dyersburg Police Department have seized over 44 kilograms of marijuana and over 5,000 fentanyl pills, which were being mailed and then distributed in the Western District of Tennessee.

“Our continued partnership with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee has resulted in the removal of 27 firearms, and the seizure of deadly fentanyl that has been linked to overdoses here in Dyersburg. We remain committed to the removal of this deadly drug, and illegally owned firearms from our community,” said Dyersburg Police Chief Steven L. Isbell.

Through social media search warrant returns, agents have pictures and videos of the defendants with marijuana and pills like those taken and testing for fentanyl. Agents were also able to take several guns and large amounts of cash.

“The FBI and our law enforcement partners are dedicated to disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations and ending the violence they bring to our communities,” said Douglas M. Korneski, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “As exemplified by the successful combined efforts of our team, we are committed to eliminating these criminal enterprises.”

If convicted, all 11 each face five years in prison up to life.

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Posted by Dyersburg Police Department on Friday, January 7, 2022

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