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One Anderson man gets life, second 30 years in meth conspiracy

oakridgetoday.com, March 1, 2014

Two Anderson County men convicted of conspiring to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine were sentenced to lengthy prison terms this week, federal officials said Friday.

Officials estimate that the conspiracy resulted in the production of about 1,500 grams of methamphetamine.

Jeffrey Scott Braden, 37, of Vowell Mountain—the only one of 42 people indicted in the conspiracy to go to trial—received a mandatory life sentence on Thursday in a hearing before Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Varlan in Knoxville, officials said.

Then, on Friday, Varlan sentenced conspiracy leader Lawrence “Stoney” Scriver, 46, of Lake City, to serve 30 years, U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said in a press release.

Braden was the only one of 42 people indicted in March 2013 to go to trial in an unprecedented meth-making conspiracy, and he was found guilty in September. After a three-day federal trial, a jury convicted Braden of one count of conspiring to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; one count of possessing equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that can be used to make it; and one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in September. Braden was tried in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.

Braden’s six prior felony state drug convictions triggered a minimum mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole under federal sentencing laws, Killian said Friday.

He said Scriver pleaded guilty in July 2013 to a federal grand jury indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and one count of distributing methamphetamine, aided and abetted by others. Scriver’s prior felony state drug conviction triggered a minimum mandatory 20-year sentence under federal sentencing laws. However, Varlan enhanced Scriver’s mandatory minimum sentence, based on the finding that Scriver was the leader of the conspiracy that produced approximately 1,500 grams of methamphetamine over the course of the conspiracy.

The indictment, which charged 42 people with methamphetamine manufacturing crimes, and subsequent convictions of Scriver and Braden, was the result of “Operation Meth-odical Destruction,” which was a joint investigation between the Drug Enforcement Administration, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Drug Task Force, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville Police Department, Oak Ridge Police Department, Seventh Judicial Crime Task Force, and Clinton Police Department. Since March 21, 2013, 41 of the 42 charged defendants have been convicted. Assistant United States Attorney David P. Lewen Jr. represented the United States.