A cash-strapped White Pine crystal-meth dealer, who had access to product that tested 100 percent pure, on Wednesday agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 5 grams in a deal that took a federal-firearm charge off the table, according to court documents.
If James Briscoe Cole had been convicted of both the crystal-meth and firearm charges, his presumptive federal prison term would have been 10 years. As it stands, he’s starting with a presumptive five-year sentence.
Cole had no chance to beat the charges. He was holding 26.1 grams of crystal meth and a loaded handgun when he was stopped by a Cocke County deputy on Aug. 3. A Drug Enforcement Administration chemical-analysis report indicated the meth contained no impurities, according to his plea agreement.
Later that day, a confidential source reported that he had hooked Cole up with a dealer to buy the ounce of crystal meth. Cole was close to the dealer’s house when he was stopped because one the passengers in his vehicle wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
The informant reported later that Cole had a significant drug debt and that the defendant had barely missed a potentially unpleasant encounter with a collection squad.
“The (informant) stated that the night the defendant was arrested, a group of people came to the residence of Cole to collect a drug debt,” the plea agreement states. “The (informant) said that the group indicated that the defendant owed them $6,500 in unpaid drug debt.”