A Greene County man was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Greeneville to serve 12 years in federal prison for his participation "in a vast drug organization responsible for the distribution of large quantities of cocaine, marijuana and oxycodone in East Tennessee," William C. Killian, U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Tennessee, said in a news release.
Billy Gene Taylor, 35, who also listed an address in Salisbury, N.C., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge J. Ronnie Greer.
The overall criminal conspiracy operated between 2005 and 2012 and involved 13 indicted individuals, the release said.
"Taylor was one of the most active participants in the conspiracy," Killian said.
In August 2005, during the investigation's early stages, a vehicle occupied by Taylor and co-defendants Frankie L. Crum and Frankie D. Crum was pulled over in Osceola, Fla.
A search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of more than $56,000 in cash, which the defendants were going to use to purchase at least two kilograms of cocaine and transport it back to East Tennessee for distribution, the news release said.
In February 2010, Taylor was pulled over by the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP).
A search of his vehicle revealed 144 pounds of marijuana in the trunk, which Taylor was transporting from Memphis to Greene County to be redistributed, the release said.
Taylor also assisted Frankie L. Crum and others "in making multiple trips to Florida to obtain large quantities of oxycodone," the news release said.
"He often caravaned with others on the trips to Florida in the effort to get as many pills as possible from pain clinics operating there and then transport them back to the Eastern District of Tennessee for distribution," the release said.
Prosecutors said Taylor also assisted Frankie L. Crum by laundering money on several occasions.
In May 2010, Taylor and co-defendant Tracy Haney were observed on videotape surveillance at a credit union in Kingsport with $30,000 in cash, which was acquired through drug sales, to purchase a BMW for co-defendant Frankie L. Crum and title it in someone else's name, the news release said.
A search warrant was executed at a residence occupied by Taylor and Frankie L. Crum in February 2011 in Greene County.
During the search, officers located quantities of cocaine, marijuana, pills, scales, drug ledgers, a handgun, ammunition and over $45,000 in cash, according to prosecutors.
Federal authorities did not specify the location of the house. Taylor has listed an address in Limestone in the past, according to Greeneville Sun archives.
"At this time, three of the individuals involved in the conspiracy have been sentenced, with all others scheduled for sentencing hearings between August and January 2013," Killian said.
Law enforcement agencies participating in the investigation which led to the indictment and subsequent conviction of Taylor and others in the conspiracy include the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Office, THP, Tennessee Third Judicial District Drug Task Force, Greene County Sheriff's Department, Washington County Sheriff's Office and Morristown Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Taylor represented the United States.
The case was part of the Department's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) programs.