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Gray TN Man Sentenced To 17 Years for Narcotics Trafficking

September 27, 2012 Department of Justice
United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee
Maurice William Gravely Sentenced To 17 Years In Prison

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - Maurice William Gravely, 41, of Gray, Tenn., was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville, by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Judge, to serve 210 months in federal prison followed by six years on supervised release. Gravely pleaded guilty on February 15, 2012, to a federal indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and money laundering.

Gravely admitted that he was involved with others in south Florida supplying oxycodone to several individuals in the Tri-Cities area of Tennessee as well as southwest Virginia. Co- conspirators deposited cash from drug proceeds into the bank accounts of other co-conspirators as payment for these drugs. Gravely admitted to distributing between 4,976 and 15,000 oxycodone pills and laundering between $120,000 and $200,000 dollars in drug proceeds.

All 26 of the individuals charged in the indictment with Gravely have now been convicted, including: Rodney Allen Mitchell, 32, of Kingsport, Tenn.; Cedric D'Andre Mitchell, 22, of Big Stone Gap, Va.; Rachel Nichole Goad, 34, of Kingsport, Tenn.; Curtis Louis Prior, Jr., 35, of Kingsport, Tenn.; Jennifer Mitchell, 38, Kingsport, Tenn.; Lloyd James Steed, Jr., 34, Detroit, Mich.; Gilbert Miller, 42, Kingsport, Tenn.; James Howard Poole, Jr., 39, Kingsport, Tenn.; Jarian Hamler, 31, Jonesborough, Tenn..; Joshua Clark Martin, 29, Kingsport, Tenn.; Shawn James Banks, 40, Detroit, Mich.; Marquis Cornelius Taylor, 37, Miami, Fla.;

Nekia Dwayne Clark, 35, Big Stone Gap, Va.; Allen Vaughn Crews, 37, Centerville, Va.; Justin Colby Vaughn, 36, Del Ray Beach, Fla.; Antwain Dwayne Hollinger, 33, Big Stone Gap, Va.; Adrian Jamal Cornette, 27, Wise County, Va.; Mose Devaughn White, 34, Johnson City, Tenn.; Duvale Pruitt, 37, Kingsport, Tenn.; Stephen Anthony Graham, 25, Johnson City, Tenn.; Stacy Montague White, 39, Kingsport, Tenn.; Keira Lashawn Moore, 29, Big Stone Gap, Va.; Semmaj Jarquis Taylor, 40, Dearfield Beach, Fla.; Dena Marie McGaughey, 39, Delray Beach, Fla.; and Victoria Danielle Bays, Johnson City, Tenn.

The indictment and subsequent conviction of Gravely was the result of a four-year investigation conducted by the Tennessee Second Judicial District Drug Task Force, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force, Kingsport Tennessee Police Department, Sullivan County Tennessee Sheriff's Office, Bristol Tennessee Police Department, Johnson City Tennessee Police Department, Washington County Tennessee Sheriff's Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division, all of which provided valuable assistance during the course of the investigation. Assistant U. S. Attorneys Robert M. Reeves and Suzanne Kerney-Quillen , Eastern District of Tennessee and Zachary T. Lee, Western District of Virginia, represented the United States.

Other individuals related to this investigation have been prosecuted by the offices of Sullivan County Tennessee District Attorney General Barry Staubus, and the Wise County Virginia Commonwealth's Attorney Ronald K. Elkins, which have been involved with the investigation since its inception in 2007.


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Prescription drug use is a problem in Tennessee

Drug overdose deaths in Tennessee are increasing:

The number of drug overdose deaths in Tennessee increased from 422 in 2001 to 1,059 in 2010; The number of drug overdose deaths in 2010 represents an increase of 250% over the 10 year time period. Includes all drug overdose deaths where the manner of death was listed as one of the following: accidental, undetermined, suicide (intentional), or homicide.

Source: Office of Policy, Planning and Assessment, Tennessee Department of Health - Death Certificates.

The top three most prescribed controlled substances in Tennessee in 2010 are:

275.5 million pills of hydrocodone (e.g., Lortab, Lorcet, Vicodin);

116.6 million pills prescribed for alprazolam (e.g., Xanax: used to treat anxiety);

113.5 million pills prescribed for oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Roxicodone) Hydrocodone and oxycodone are both prescription opioids used to treat pain.

The number of drugs prescribed during 2010 to Tennesseans represents:
51 pills of hydrocodone for EVERY Tennessean above the age of 12;
22 pills of alprazolam for EVERY Tennessean above the age of 12;
21 pills of oxycodone for EVERY Tennessean above the age of 12.

Source: Report to the 2011 General Assembly by the Tennessee Department of Health Controlled Substance Database Advisory Committee, Board of Pharmacy.

Prescription drug abuse affects everyone:

Abuse of prescription opioids is the number one drug problem for Tennesseans receiving state-funded treatment services;

Almost 250,000 Tennesseans older than 12 reported abusing prescription opioids in 2009.

Source: Treatment Episode Data Set - Admission (TEDS-A). 1999 - 2009. SAMHSA State Estimates of Substance Use and Mental Disorders from the 2008 - 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.

Prescription drug abuse hits every profession and every socioeconomic level:

For those seeking state-funded treatment, people who were stable (married, employed and had at least a high school education) were 3.16 times more likely than less stable consumers to use prescription opioids than illicit drugs.

Source: Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services. Tennessee Web Information Technology System (TN WITS) Database.

Prescription drug abuse especially affects women:

While more men were admitted to treatment in 2009 than women, a higher percentage of women abuse prescription opioids;

21% of 6,827 men reported prescription opioids as their primary substance of abuse;

27% of 3,403 women listed prescription opioids as their primary substance of abuse;

35% of 142 pregnant women admitted to state-funded treatment services in Tennessee listed prescription opioids as their primary substance of abuse.

Source: SAMHSA State Estimates of Substance Use and Mental Disorders from the 2008 - 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.