Twenty-two indicted in alleged Davidson County methamphetamine distribution ring

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 4:08pm

A Davidson County grand jury handed down an indictment last Friday against 22 individuals accused of operating a widespread drug ring.

Seventeen of the 22 suspects are charged with possessing more than 300 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the retail price of one gram of pure meth can cost more than $300.

Most of the transactions took place in the latter half of 2011 and allegedly involved Christopher Darnell, 34, who police believe transported the drugs from Atlanta back to Nashville. Darnell supplied meth to Ronald Garrett, Wayne Earle, Mark McLaughlin, David Lee Pardue, Geoff Pineda, Nicole Reall, Marlo Ross, Ashley Thompson, Christopher Thompson, Meghan Wemple and Billy Baker.

According to the indictment, those suspects subsequently redistributed the drugs. Darnell also allegedly supplied more than 10 pounds of marijuana to other individuals.

The DEA collaborated with the Metro Nashville Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in Rutherford County to bust the conspiracy, a collaboration they called “Operation Icy Conditions,” according to a police affidavit.

Darnell, Ashley Thompson and Pineda were all arrested on Dec. 9, 2011, and have been in jail since. None of the other suspects on the indictment are in Davidson County jail, according to Davidson County Sheriff's Office records.

5 Comments on this post:

By: Ask01 on 8/29/12 at 12:28

I have a few thoughts on this subject.

First, met, and other, what I term, 'artificial' drugs, are much more dangerous than some of the naturally occurring substances. Of course, these 'artificial' drugs are the result of people seeking ways to obtain a 'high' and using ingredients, perhaps more dangerous than natural drugs, to create a substance to achieve that goal.

The production of these artificial drugs is often hazardous, as is their use. While I was naturally too young to remember the failed social experiment called prohibition, I do recall reading about the dangers of home production and even consumption of homemade alcoholic beverages.

The so called war on drugs has been a dismal failure, for the public, anyway. Government has profitted from the seizure of property and cash taken in drug raids, and corporations have experienced growth based on privatized prisons. I would not be surprised to learn of individual, law enforcement, corrections officers, judges, lawyers, counsellors, and many others, who have parlayed the war on drugs into life long careers.

This long winded dissertation boils down to my belief the nation would be better served by the decriminalization and legalization of certain drugs, establishing guidelines similar to those governing the production, distribution, sale, and most important, taxation of alcohol.

Many law enforcement, corrections officers, judges and attorneys, would be forced to find legitimate work as their particular skills would become surplus.

Likewise, organized crime would suffer as the demand for most of their products would evaporate.

Honestly, what sense would it make to risk buying black market drugs of unknown quality and content, when one could purchase legal, bonded and safe items from government run stores?

Further, why risk making your own, often dangerous drugs, as in the case of meth or bath salts, with the risk of extremely long sentences and sky high fines which should remain in place, when other, safer options exist?

I view meth, and substances like meth, as the bathtub gin of this generation, the moonshine of the new south. The only way to eradicate these more dangerous drugs is to change the laws and treat drugs like we did alcohol.

Just one mans thoughts.

By: Badbob on 8/30/12 at 5:46

Meth is in a class all it's own. It is very addictive. It is not bathtub gin because of its danger.

By: PJ_37207 on 8/31/12 at 9:15

Ask01, you think cocaine, heroin and opium are safe? I'm betting that when you are talking about "natural" drugs, marijuana is probably what you are thinking about. I think pretty much any argument about how if people had free access to marijuana they wouldn't do other more dangerous/harmful drugs is ridiculous.

Everyone I know that smokes marijuana has no trouble getting it . I can also tell you that everyone that I know that has been jailed for drug offenses started their drug experiences with marijuana and alcohol... then moved on to other drugs regardless of easy access to those "safer" drugs.

I have a brother who is in prison for trafficking of meth, he cooked it, he sold it and he smoked it. Despite having cheap and easy to access marijuana (which was his first high), once he got high from meth, nothing else was going to do. People who chase highs keep needing to find a high that gives them something. Some people can smoke pot and never move to something else, but others are always chasing something "more", for those people, making "natural" drugs legal will do very little-- except making it easier to start chasing highs.

Unless you make all drugs legal (natural or manufactured) there will be little impact on drug arrests and career-making in the industry. Make anything illegal (that people want) and there is a criminal element that will rise up to provide it.

By: G.Scout on 8/31/12 at 10:36

Legalize it all. Problem solved. There will always be addicts whether its legal or illegal. At least we could take the criminal element out of it by legalizing it.

By: Ask01 on 9/1/12 at 6:14

I see I failed miserably in conveying my point. Let me try to be less obtuse so as not to confuse readers.

Are drugs dangerous? Even what I refered to as 'natural' drugs? Yes, in the same frame of reference that even legal substances such as tobacco and alcohol can be dangerous.

Perhaps we should ban these items and make them illegal also. The problem is, we tried a social experiment called prohibition to eradicate alcohol, which failed miserably, and helped fantastically enrich organized crime. Ban cigarettes, making them illegal, and the result would be total anarchy.

Rearding the 'bathtub gin' phrase, that was the best analogy available to characterize the process of making your own recreational mind altering substances. The general idea I believe is valid. Being cut off from the item desired, people will find other avenues, even home manufacturing, to fulfil the need.

Organized crime, as best I can find referenced, does not bother with moonshine on a significant scale. (Bootlegging, selling untaxed, commercially produce alcohol is different, as the substance in question is legally produced.)The reason is the risk/benefit assessment produces too little gain for too much risk.

Likewise, were government to produce, regulate, sell, and tax items such as marijuana and even cocaine, the availability of these products in a legal setting, probably at lower, more stable prices would make the allure of 'home made' recreational substances highly unattractive.

The risk/benefit ratio would affect both seller and buyer, causing the 'street corner' vendor to seek other ways to make a buck, and the illicit buyer to opt for a legal outlet.

Meth is a danger not only to the user and manufacturer, but to the general public as the user can be totally unpredictable, perhaps violent, and the manufacturer operates a hazardous production facility, often in residential settings.

Once again, the costs of the war on drugs is mostly money tossed down a rat hole, when one considers the expense for law enforcement, including equipment, training and operations, not to mention incarceration costs of those arrested, including corrections officers, usually little more than hall monitors, as they do little correction or actual rehabilitation, the cost of building more prisons, and the cost of actual so called rehabilitation counsellors.

Consider how much has been spent on dug interdiction, then consider the amount of drugs actually interdicted versus those on the street. Somehow, I believe were this a business function, business would be firing those in charge, or shutting down the department as unprofitable.

My next rant will deal with other wastes of money in attempts to regulate and legislate morality, all aimed at upsetting the conservative, right wing, religious factions among us.