Feds move forward on meth ring cases in Lakeway Area

The Drug Enforcement Administration wasted no time in snatching up into federal court alleged crystal-meth courier Claude Everett “J.R.” Mosley Jr., who authorities says was holding 7.5 pounds of methamphetamine when he was arrested in Hamblen County on Oct. 31.

It took eight months for the U.S. attorney’s office to unseal the indictment of William Matthew Lucas, another alleged high-volume meth courier taken into custody in Cocke County in March, but with the recent extradition of his alleged accomplice, a woman named Ashley Nicole Freeman, that federal prosecution is now moving forward in public in U.S. District Court in Greeneville.

Mosley, 51, has yet to be indicted by a federal grand jury and remained in the Hamblen County Jail this morning, but Brandon Johnson a DEA task force member, drafted a criminal complaint that virtually assures Mosley, a convicted felon, will not be released.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol received a tip that Mosley, a reputed drug courier, would be traveling through Hamblen County in a maroon Scion TC, although the probable cause for stopping the defendant’s vehicle was a registration violation, according to the criminal complaint.

When Trooper Ronald Hall attempted to stop Mosley on Fish Hatchery Road, the defendant drove into field, but the compact car, which has a ground clearance of just 6.3 inches, ran aground. Mosley fled on foot, but was taken into custody a short time later. The meth, along with 3 grams of heroin and 15 grams of cocaine, allegedly was found in Mosley’s vehicle.

The case against Lucas and Freeman appears to be even stronger than the case against Mosley, according to a criminal complaint drafted by Bryan Williams, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm and Explosives. Both Lucas and Freeman allegedly admitted they were crystal-meth dealers when they were arrested at the Newport Wal-Mart on March 1.

Lucas first stated he sold between 4.4 and 11 pounds of meth per week, but later downwardly revised the amount to 2.2 pounds a week, according to Williams.

“Lucas identified his source of supply in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and also identified several local methamphetamine dealers already known to law enforcement as the individuals he was selling to,” the criminal complaint states.

Freeman, who was not charged in the criminal complaint, said she drove Lucas because he does not have a valid driver’s license, but reported “she is not a dope dealer,” according to the criminal complaint.

What the two cases have in common is the law enforcement officials had reliable information the alleged meth dealers were headed to the Lakeway Area.

A one-time customer of Lucas and Freeman flipped on the pair in February, and text messages and images recovered from the confidential source’s phone corroborated the information. On March 1, another informant told members of the Newport Police Department Lucas and Freeman were in Newport.

They had probable cause to stop the defendants’ vehicle because Lucas has outstanding felony warrants in Transylvania County, North Carolina, according to the criminal complaint.

In addition to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, the federal grand jury also indicted Lucas and Freeman on cocaine charges. Lucas allegedly had 4 grams of cocaine keistered when he was booked into the Cocke County Jail. Freeman allegedly had 3 grams, according to the criminal complaint.