A statewide investigation by five law enforcement agencies led to a Davidson County grand jury indictment of 14 individuals involved in an alleged drug ring that transported hundreds of pounds of marijuana throughout the state.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, 20th Judicial District Drug Task Force, and the Memphis and Nashville police departments worked together on the investigation, which dealt with criminal activity from the Mexican border to Due West Avenue in Madison.
The indictment stemmed from a Metro Nashville Police Department investigation in September 2011 when Ricky Robinson, Nicholas Jackson, Anthony Mickens and Oscar Zarate were arrested after allegedly transporting hundreds of pounds of marijuana to Nashville. Mickens allegedly drove the supply from Jackson’s safe house in Memphis to Robinson’s home off Briley Parkway near the airport.
Zarate and Jackson were arrested after a search warrant was executed in Memphis, while Mickens and Robinson were arrested in Nashville.
The indictment, filed on March 9, shows the breadth of the drug operation. John Phillips and Amy Hughes of Brookhaven and Southaven, Miss., are accused of traveling from Little Rock, Ark., to Texas, to retrieve more than 300 pounds of marijuana and bring it back to Tennessee.
Larry Ahlman, of Edinburg, Texas, was charged in connection with the conspiracy for allegedly flying from McAllen, Texas, near the Mexican border, to Memphis with proceeds and funds from the operation, as directed by Zarate.
The indictment also alleges Dorian Brown and Donald Brown, of Madison and Hendersonville respectively, “carried large trash bags used to conceal heavy bundles of marijuana” in connection with the drug trafficking last year.
Hughes, Phillips, Ahlman, Brown and three other defendants accused of assisting in the drug operation in Jackson, Tenn., were arrested over the last two weeks and are being held in Davidson County Jail. Two defendants aren’t in custody.
Facing one count of conspiring to sell more than 300 pounds of marijuana in a school zone are: Oscar Zarate of Memphis; Amy Hughes of Southaven, Miss.; Markeith Dunlap of Memphis; Arnold Lee of Memphis; Donald Brown of Hendersonville; Larry Ahlman of Edinburg, Texas; Anthony Cole of Jackson, Tenn.; Steven Newsom of Jackson, Tenn.; John Martin Phillips of Brookhaven, Miss.; Dorian Brown of Madison; Veonkea Brown of Nashville; Ricky Robinson of Hermitage; Nicholas Jackson of Memphis; and Anthony Mickens of Memphis.
Mickens, Jackson, Robinson, Dorian Brown and Donald Brown face additional drug charges and felony weapon charges.
Initial court dates haven’t been set.