A Hawkins County man, who at one time was reputedly the largest crystal-meth supplier in Kingsport, was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison on Tuesday, according to federal court documents.
Henry David “Junior” Estep pleaded guilty earlier to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crystal meth. He accepted responsibility for selling between 500 grams and 1.5 kilos, but his plea agreement indicates he had a much larger impact on the crystal-meth trade in Sullivan County.
An informant told law enforcement officials Estep, who lived in Church Hill, was selling more than 6 pounds of crystal meth per week, according to his plea agreement.
“In August 2016, another confidential informant … reported that (Estep) was the main supplier of methamphetamine in Northeast Tennessee and that the night before his arrest the informant saw the defendant in possession of $47,000,” his plea agreement states.
Allegedly being the biggest does not mean that Estep, who is in his late 30s, never made serious mistakes.
In the two months prior to his arrest in October 2018, he lost six kilograms of meth to attributable to theft and law enforcement seizures. One of Estep’s suppliers, codefendant Joe Stoltz, sent two enforcers to harm Estep, but he worked off the $80,000 debt by working as a courier to make up $50,000 in losses, according to his plea agreement.
Estep has been in federal custody since February 2018. He will be under court supervision for five years after he’s released.
In an unrelated federal prosecution that originated in Hamblen County, convicted oxycodone dealer Ashley Nicole Patterson will arrive in federal court under a shadow that’s doubly dark. Before she was arrested in Morristown on felony drug charges Friday, her federal probation officer had obtained an arrest petition for allegedly violating the terms of her restricted release.
That petition remained sealed late this morning, and her initial appearance on revocation proceedings has not been scheduled. Patterson was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison for her supporting role in an oxycodone-distribution conspiracy headed by Morristown resident Greg Rhea.
Patterson’s sentence was reduced to 65 months, but she was sentenced to another 13 months in October 2018 after she tested positive for drugs and was caught stealing a nose ring from the East Morristown Walmart.
She allegedly was holding 6.6 grams of crystal meth and 19 gabapentin pills for which she had no prescription when she was taken into custody at her Corbin Drive residence on Jan. 10, according to Detective Pete Shockley, a Morristown Police Department narcotics investigator.