Knoxville, Tenn. – On April 26, 2022, following a six-day trial in the United States District Court, Knoxville, Tennessee, a jury found Bryan Cornelius, 31, of Knoxville, Tennessee, guilty. conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, conspiracy to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin and more than 40 grams of fentanyl, conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, conspiracy to committing money laundering, distributing more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, and possessing and discharging a firearm in connection with his drug trafficking crimes.
Sentencing for Cornelius is set for October 3, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. in United States District Court before United States District Court Judge Thomas A. Varlan in Knoxville, Tennessee. Cornelius faces a life sentence.
Evidence presented at trial included wiretapping of multiple cell phones, multiple search warrants at various Knoxville residences, narcotics, firearms and cash seizures. Evidence showed that Cornelius, a member of the Gangster Disciples street gang, ordered narcotics from various supply sources in California and received packages of methamphetamine and marijuana through the United States Postal Service (USPS), from Fed-Ex and UPS throughout 2019. and that he maintained multiple addresses across Knoxville to hide his narcotics, guns, and cash to facilitate his distribution of narcotics. Further, evidence showed that, in the course of his drug dealing, at approximately 2:45 p.m. on November 21, 2019, Cornelius, along with two other people, drove past the Stop-n-Go on Brooks Avenue and Cornelius shot fifteen strokes. 7.62 mm in a Mercedes-Benz. The driver suffered two non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.
Cornelius was the only defendant in a 23-person indictment that went to trial; all other defendants pleaded guilty.
Law enforcement agencies involved in the joint investigation that led to the indictment and subsequent conviction of Cornelius included the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) HIDTA task force and the United States Postal Inspection Service ( USPIS). The FBI’s HIDTA Task Force includes the Roane County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Blount County Sheriff’s Office, and Sevier County Sheriff’s Office . Tennessee’s Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, also assisted in this investigation by performing drug testing on the narcotics seized in the case.
“This lawsuit is part of the Department of Justice’s overall strategy to reduce violence and increase community safety by prosecuting violent criminals who use firearms as part of their distribution of highly addictive and dangerous drugs. , such as fentanyl and methamphetamine,” the United States said. Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III.
“Illegal drugs are the scourge of society and the cause of havoc for many families. The FBI, along with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, are committed to identifying, disrupting, and holding accountable those responsible for harming our communities through their unlawful activities,” the officer said. FBI special in charge, Joe Carrico.
“The Postal Service has no interest in being the unwitting accomplice of anyone who uses the U.S. Mail to distribute illegal drugs or other harmful substances,” said Tommy D. Coke, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge of the Division of Atlanta. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to keep dangerous drugs out of the communities we serve.”
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cynthia Davidson and Alan Kirk represented the United States at trial.
This case was part of the Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OECDTF) and HIDTA programs. The OECDTF is the United States’ primary weapon against the highest drug trafficking organizations operating in the United States, importing drugs into the United States, or laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking. The HIDTA program enhances and coordinates drug control efforts among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The program provides agencies with coordination, equipment, technology and additional resources to combat drug trafficking and its harmful consequences in critical regions of the United States.
This case is also part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Justice Department’s violent crime reduction efforts. The NSP is an evidence-based program that has been shown to be effective in reducing violent crime. Through the PSN, a wide range of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime issues in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, the PSN focuses its law enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with local prevention and rehabilitation programs for a lasting reduction in crime.