Newport detective gets 90 months

Posted on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 11:52 am

A Newport police detective has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in connection with money laundering, drug and weapons charges.

Detective James Holt was charged on the state presentments with numerous instances of the purchase of what he believed to be stolen merchandise from an undercover operative. He purchased a large quantity of cigarettes and Harley Davidson clothing and gear, on more than 20 occasions. He was also charged with 10 counts of official misconduct in that he did not arrest the informant when Holt was told the items were stolen merchandise.

He also is charged with numerous sales and deliveries of Hydrocodone and Alprazolam in May, June and July, within 1,000-feet of the Cocke County High School.

He also was charged on a federal criminal complaint with the illegal distribution of drugs and the possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

In the plea agreement, Holt agrees to plead guilty to distribution of hydrocodone and the use of a firearm in a drug trafficking offense.

He faced up to life in prison; however, the plea agreement provides for a sentence of 90 months in prison followed by five years on supervised release. The sentence is to be served concurrently with a term he gets on the state charges.

Holt in the plea agreement agrees to the federal allegations which were captured on a video recording device and by telephone.

He admits too he provided a list of items prepared by his wife Newport Alderwoman Kathy Holt “of merchandise they wanted stolen for them.”

He agreed he provided hydrocodone pills in exchange for some of the “stolen” merchandise.

On one occasion Kathy Holt allegedly paid $510 for items valued at over $1,000.

A sawed off .20 gauge shotgun was found in the Holt home after the arrest.

The plea agreement says in his lockbox at the police department, federal agents recovered an SKS rifle, another rifle, and torn evidence bags and envelopes. The evidence bags dated back to 1994. Cocaine and pills were found in one of the items.

A safe found in Holt’s official vehicle contained pills and other drug paraphernalia.

“The defendant agrees that he has abused the public trust by committing these crimes while employed as a Newport City police officer” and although the agreement says he faces an enhanced sentence, because he is pleading guilty, the sentence will not be enhanced.

-From Staff Reports

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