(Relased for publication) Devin Ray Horne, 24, of Kingsport, Tenn., was sentenced on June 30, 2014, by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Court Judge, to serve 282 months in federal prison for his leadership role in oxycodone, money laundering and income tax fraud conspiracies, as well as witness intimidation. Most of this illegal activity was centered in and around the Sullivan County area of East Tennessee.
Others charged in this conspiracy were also sentenced on June 30, 2014, in U.S. District Court. Melissa Ann Nowlin, 28, of Kingsport, Tenn., was sentenced to serve 41 months in prison for her conviction of the oxycodone conspiracy and income tax fraud. Penelope Sharp, 44, of Blountville, Tenn., was sentenced on the same date to serve 41 months in prison for her conviction of the oxycodone conspiracy.
Pursuant to the income tax fraud conviction, Devin Horne was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $23,451.00. Nowlin was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $18,160.00. This conspiracy included 17 individuals who were indicted for their involvement in a large scale oxycodone distribution ring stretching back to approximately May 2008. Many of the pills obtained and sold within this conspiracy were obtained from Michigan, Florida and Georgia and transported back to the Eastern District of Tennessee for resale. Devin Horne stipulated that he conspired to distribute a conservative estimate of 10,000 (30 mg) oxycodone pills in the Eastern
District of Tennessee.
In February 2013, Nowlin, who was the girlfriend of Devin Horne, was subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury. Days before her appearance Devin Horne told her, in jail recorded conversations, that he would take her life away if she testified against him. In another jail recorded conversation, Devin Horne also told his father and co-defendant Donnie Horne, 56, of Kingsport, that he would kill Nowlin if she testified against him. Devin Horne further asked his father to take Nowlin’s car away from her if she testified and to have someone present at the courthouse watching her.
In addition to the oxycodone trafficking, money laundering and witness intimidation, Devin Horne also devised and implemented a scheme to fraudulently obtain funds by filing false and fraudulent federal income tax returns using personal identifying information obtained from other individuals while he was housed inside the Sullivan County Jail. Devin Horne used Nowlin and others to assist him in preparing the fraudulent forms and converting the refund checks to their own use.
Other individuals involved in this conspiracy were previously sentenced in U.S. District Court. Dustin Wilcox a.k.a. “Weiner”, 32, of Kingsport, Tenn., who stipulated to conspiring to distribute approximately 14,000 oxycodone pills, was sentenced to serve 270 months in prison. Many of these pills were sold from Wilcox’s residence at in Kingsport, which was a well-known and commonly used location among other co-conspirators to sell, buy and use drugs in the Kingsport area. A final order of forfeiture was recently entered in which Wilcox forfeited his interest in this tract of real property as a result of the continued drug dealing that took place there.
Ricky Harvey, 30, of Kingsport, Tenn., was previously sentenced to serve 180 months in prison following his convictions on oxycodone and money laundering conspiracy charges. Michael Sharp, 50, of Blountville, Tenn., was previously sentenced to serve 72 months in prison following his conviction on oxycodone trafficking charges. Donnie Horne, Jason Jones, 36, of Elizabethton, Tenn., and Stephen Leon Williams, 62, of Kingsport, Tenn., were all previously sentenced to prison terms of
71 months, 78 months and 90 months, respectively. Williams was convicted for selling oxycodone pills and a firearm while on parole for a prior murder conviction.
Law enforcement agencies participating in the investigation which led to the indictment and subsequent conviction of Devin Horne and his co-conspirators include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, IRS Criminal Investigations Division, Kingsport Police Department, and Bristol Tennessee Police Department, all of which provided invaluable assistance during the course of the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Taylor represented the United States.
U.S. Attorney William C. Killian stated, “We are pleased not only with this significant sentence on Devin Ray Horne, but also with the overall sentences of all of the individuals involved in this extensive criminal activity. The witness intimidation conviction is important because these tactics simply cannot be tolerated in the criminal justice system.”