Hawkins man sentenced to 152 months

Hawkins County crystal-meth dealer Gregory Wayne Leake is proof that the trip to the highest federal criminal-history category – and the related sentence enhancement – can be accomplished in baby steps, according to court documents.

Leake, 33, was sentenced to 152 months in federal prison on Friday. That’s 30 months more than the bottom-of-the-range sentence for defendants defendants who plead guilty to a 50-gram conspiracy, but a year less than the sentence recommended by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Christian Lampe.

To reach the top category, federal defendants need 12 criminal-history points. Before his conviction, Leake had 15. He tallied four points for misdemeanor convictions; six as a result of auto-burglary convictions; three as a result of a 10-year-old meth conviction; and two points because he was on probation at the time he was arrested.

Leake’s attorney, Jonesborough lawyer D.R. Smith, encapsulates his client’s predicament in the defense sentencing memorandum.”

“Obviously, it is not a sterling record of behavior, but a criminal history category of six overstates his criminal activity,” Smith wrote. “The four points for his misdeanor convictions as a young man, although permissible, result in a picture of a career offender, which he is not.”

Leake, the No. 11 defendant in a 15-defendant conspiracy allegedly headed by Ohio resident Charles “Tank” Wallace, had no good options after he and the No. 2 defendant, Kanitha Nicole Cox, were arrested while returning from a meth run to Ohio.

They were holding 2 ounces, which by itself crosses the 50-gram threshold that triggers a mandatory minimum 10-year federal prison term.

One of Leake’s codefendants, Johnny Shane Brown, was sentenced to 132 months on Friday. Like Leake, had no good options.

After detailing his role in a regional meth-distribution network in January 2019, he was holding 42 grams of crystal meth when he was arrested four months later, according to his plea agreement.

Both Leake and Brown will be under court supervision for five years after they’re released.

In an unrelated federal crystal-meth prosecution,