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36 people arrested after probe of NE Tenn., SW Va. Oxycontin, cocaine ring

Kacie Breeding • Jan 13, 2010 at 12:00 AM

A Bristol man and a Bluff City woman found in possession of $153,000 worth of prescription painkillers last year are among 36 people arrested Wednesday following a lengthy probe of an Oxycontin and cocaine distribution ring operating in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

Jonathan Trenton Leonard, 35, 110 Oak Road, and April Shannon Hutson, 40, 207 Old Weaver Pike, No. 9, were stopped for speeding on Kingsport's Interstate 81 on July 1, 2009. Their SUV was searched after a police dog alerted to an odor of drugs. They were arrested and the SUV was seized after the search turned up an unidentified white powder substance, 1,827 oxycodone pills and 1,333 hydrocodone pills.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice news release, the latest arrests of Leonard, Hutson and the others are the a result of a two-year cooperative investigation by authorities in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. The group face charges of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, cocaine base and OxyContin in both jurisdictions.

According to the news release, those arrested Wednesday in addition to Leonard and Hutson were:

•Phyllis Ann Amos, 62

•Matthew Lee Cox, 27

•Brandi Lynnay Tuell, 25

•Joshua Lee Snypes, 18

•Kari Nicole Parks, 23

•Michael Anthony Taylor, 37

•Bobby Lee White, 52

•Jeffrey James Howell, 30

•Ryan Hilton, 37

•Randall William Cross, 23

•Rhonda Kaye Hutson, 42

•John Raymond Stiltner Jr, 34

•April Dawn Hilliard, 34

•Chuck Allen Hensley, 35

•Brandon D. Kincer, 20

•Robert Henry Nelson, 51

•Carrie Evelyn Jarrett, 21

•Issac Andrew Smith, 27

•Shawn Michael Bullen, 26

•Nikki D. Wiggs, 28

•Ladonna Renee Carnett, 33

Agencies involved in the investigation include: The investigation of this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Bristol, Tennessee Police Department, Bristol, Virginia Police Department, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department, Washington County, Virginia Sheriff’s Department, Virginia State Police, and the 2nd Judicial District Drug Task Force. The investigation was assisted by the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee of the United States Attorney’s Office in Abingdon is prosecuting the case.

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