A federal grand jury in Knoxville Wednesday returned a 19-count indictment against 15 defendants.

The 15 include:

31-year-old Todd M. Evans and 38-year-old Joshua M. Vanriette, both of Pontiac, Michigan

70-year-old Gary L. Shadden, 34-year-old Henri L. Ewing, 56-year-old James M. Pass, and 23-year-old Traythan W. Edwards, all of Rockwood, Tennessee.

53-year-old Robert S. Fugate and 53-year-old Charlotte A. Brown, both of Spring City, Tennessee

33-year-old Amber B. Jackson, 46-year-old Nicholas J. Eskridge, 52-year-old Christopher C. Gilmore, and Kristy L. Murray, all of Harriman, Tennessee.

44-year-old Bobby L. Robinette, 40-year-old Liberty Warfield, and 46-year-old Misty Walden, all of Kingston, Tennessee.

According to the indictment, all defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, and 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 yesterday before 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 Judge 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.

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.

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.