Greene meth dealer gets 15 years in prison

Greene County crystal-meth whale Jeremy Wayne Mowell, who headed a 14-defendant drug-distribution operation that was related to two others based in Hawkins County, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, and the outcome for the 38-year-old man could have been a lot worse, according to court documents.

Prior to the time Mowell began selling to an informant, he had no criminal history, which is an important factor in federal court sentencing. On the other hand, Mowell accepted responsibility for distributing more than 4.5 kilos of crystal meth, yet he received the bottom-of-the-range punishment – 10 years for the meth and a consecutive five for possessing a handgun while dealing.

The prosecution and defense sentencing memorandums were filed under seal so it’s unclear what Mowell may have done to help himself. .

Mowell’s case was closely related to an 18-defendant, Hawkins County-based conspiracy headed by David Byron Jones, who also got 15 years, and 15-defendant Hawkins County conspiracy allegedly headed by Ohio resident Charles “Tank” Wallace. Wallace is cross-implicated by multiple codefendants, but has not pleaded guilty.

One of Wallace’s underlings, Bobby Lee Barker, indicated Tuesday he’ll plead guilty to the lesser offense of conspiracy to distribute more than 5 grams of meth. Barker negotiated a certain, 70-month prison term.

Barker, who sold meth to an informant, had a Kel-Tec 9mm pistol tucked into his waistband and a .22-caliber Magnum pistol in his jacket pocket when he was arrested by the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department in January 2019. He escaped punishment for illegal firearm possession. Immediately thereafter, Barker flipped on his former drug-dealing associates, according to his plea agreement.

“He made a Mirandized statement to Detective (Gary) Lawson,” the plea agreement states. “Barker confessed to buying a quarter-pound of meth every day for a year. Barker admitted he was recently obtaining meth from coconspirator (in another case) Jeremy Mowell.”

Like Wallace, Mowell was indicted in 2019. Jones was indicted in 2017. The FBI, the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department and the Third Judicial District Drug Task Force followed Jones’ trail to Mowell, Wallace and their underlings, according to Mowell’s plea agreement.

“(There was) an evolving methamphetamine-distribution network … in and around Hawkins County … This enterprise consisted of fluid and overlapping cells that obtained kilogram quantities of meth from two separate out-of-state supply chains,” the plea agreement states.

Before Mowell decided to cooperate, he was arrested in Hamblen County in January following a high-speed pursuit. During the chase, he tossed 8 ounces of crystal meth and two pistols from the vehicle. He was holding 5 ounces of meth when he was arrested in Hawkins County in January.