15 Charged With Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Firearms, And Money Laundering Offenses

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On February 21, 2024, a federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tennessee, returned a 19-count indictment against 15 defendants—Todd M. Evans, 31, and Joshua M. Vanriette, 38, both of Pontiac, MI; Gary L. Shadden, 70, Henri L. Ewing, 34, James M. Pass, 56, and Traythan W. Edwards, 23, all of Rockwood, TN; Robert S. Fugate, 53, and Charlotte A. Brown, 53, both of Spring City, TN; Amber B. Jackson, 33, Nicholas J. Eskridge, 46, Christopher C. Gilmore, 52, and Kristy L. Murray, all of Harriman, TN; and Bobby L. Robinette, 44, Liberty Warfield, 40, and Misty Walden, 46, all of Kingston, TN.

According to the indictment, all defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, multiple defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine as well as other fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine offenses, Evans, Vanriette, Ewing, and Pass are each charged with firearms offenses, and Evans, Vanriette, and Jackson are charged in a conspiracy to commit money laundering. 

Jackson, Walden, Shadden, Brown, Gilmore, Edwards, and Warfield had their initial appearances on February 22, 2024, before the Honorable Judge Jill E. McCook, United States Magistrate Judge, and all entered pleas of not guilty.  The remaining defendants will have their initial appearances at a later date.  This case has been set for trial on April 30, 2024, before the Honorable Katherine A. Crytzer, United States District Judge, in the United States District Court in Knoxville.  

If convicted, Evans, Vanriette, and Ewing each face a mandatory minimum term of 20 years and up to life in prison and other penalties; Jackson, Murray, and Pass each face a mandatory minimum of 15 years and up to life in prison and other penalties; Eskridge and Robinette each face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison and other penalties; Shadden, Walden, and Gilmore each face a mandatory minimum term of 5 years and up to 40 years in prison and other penalties; and Edwards and Warfield each face up to 20 years in prison and other penalties.                 

U.S. Attorney Francis M. Hamilton, III, of the Eastern District of Tennessee; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Joseph E. Carrico; and Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), made the announcement.    

This indictment is the result of an investigation led by the FBI, and the ATF, with significant support from the Roane County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Harriman Police Department, Rhea County Sheriff’s Office, Rockwood Police Department, as well as other partnering agencies to include the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent N. Jones will represent the United States. 

This operation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. 

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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