As federal prosecutors were preparing to present evidence against Hamblen County residents Trinidad Balderas Jr. and Tawauna Sheron Boutwell to a grand jury, they disregarded 3.2 ounces of heroin, 30 pounds of marijuana, 28 Ecstasy pills, 1.1 ounces of powder cocaine and 2 ounces of marijuana confiscated from the pair on Aug. 26, according to court documents.
Instead, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Reeves focused on the 1.4 pounds of crystal meth, six pistols, two shotguns and a rifle they allegedly were holding when Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department narcotics officers executed a search warrant at their White Oak Church Road home.
On Tuesday, a federal grand jury in Greeneville indicted Balderas, 34, and Boutwell, 36, for conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of crystal meth and possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking offense.
Typically – even in cases involving kilograms of crystal meth – federal prosecutors always obtain indictments for 50-gram conspiracies, an offense that normally triggers a 10-year minimum-mandatory federal prison term.
Meth defendants who are convicted of trafficking larger amounts can face quantity-related sentencing enhancements. In this case, Balderas and Boutwell allegedly were holding approximately 630 grams of meth, and Reeves elected to start at a higher jumping-off point.
Balderas as Boutwell face possible sentencing enhancements because they’re convicted felons. Balderas was convicted of aggravated assault in Florida in 1999. Boutwell was convicted of felony drug sales in Hamblen County, according to court records.
Three of the handguns confiscated on Aug. 26 had been reported stolen. Hamblen County narcotics investigators also seized nearly $24,000 in cash.
In another case that appeared a lock for federal prosecution, a federal grand jury in Knoxville has indicted Kodak resident Gavin Obryan Robinson, 28, and Dejuan Maurice Porter, 40, for possession of more than 500 grams of powder cocaine and more than 28 grams of crack cocaine.
Both have ties to Cocke County.
Robinson allegedly sold drugs in Cocke County, according to Michael Geddings, a Knoxville Police Department officer who serves on Drug Enforcement Administration task force. Robinson was living in Newport in 2015 when he was convicted of felony possession of marijuana.
Porter allegedly had more than a kilogram of crack and three firearms that had been reported stolen in Cocke County when he was taken into custody in August. The plea deadline for Robinson and Porter is Oct. 29.