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Knoxville Drug Trafficking Attorney Generals Target Detroit Drug Traffickers

by Landmark Recovery

February 23, 2023
Man arrested for cross-border drug trafficking Attorney Generals now target in Tennessee. His hands hover over a white table where confiscated methamphetamine sits in tiny bags.

Several East Tennessee prosecutors have announced the launch of the “313 Initiative.” It’s a collaborative effort by state and local law enforcement agencies to disrupt the flow of drugs and other criminal activities originating from Detroit. The kind of drug trafficking attorney generals appear most concerned about is cross-border trafficking.

Detroit Traffickers Target Knox County

The initiative is named after Detroit’s 313 area code. It’s supposed to push law enforcement to share information and intelligence across a centralized database. It’s also meant to better equip law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to identify and prosecute local drug dealers and larger-scale traffickers.

This move comes after Knox County law enforcement, alongside others, have been targeting people from Detroit for the past few months, in an effort to reduce the “prolific” amounts of drugs flowing into the area. 

Knoxville Area Drug Trafficking Attorney Generals Say Is from Michigan

Landmark Recovery recently reported in Nov. 2022 on a multi-state methamphetamine distribution Man with handcuffs around his wrists holds up a tiny baggy of pills. When it comes to drug trafficking Attorney Generals in Tennessee are focused on operations from Michigan entering the state.network based in Michigan. Profits from the back market sale of meth were routinely invested in illegal marijuana grow operations so that marijuana could be sold in Tennessee. The ring leader, according to law enforcement officials, was directing all these moves from a prison in Tennessee. He collected $1.2 million while in prison.

District 6 Attorney General Charme Allen is among the prosecutors who introduced the 313 Initiative. Her office confirmed to Landmark that both meth and marijuana are being confiscated from this new targeting push.

“Since the start of the 313 Initiative, we have seized several pounds of marijuana,” Allen told Landmark, “but we have seized even more methamphetamine, specifically 42 pounds of meth.”

Those arrested are now publicly identified as having ties to Detroit. This comes from DAs wanting to send a message to potential drug traffickers that Knoxville and its surrounding counties are a “hostile market” for them.

The Florida-Michigan Drug Pipeline

Law enforcement agencies have been battling the I-75 “drug pipeline” for a decade now. The I-75 pipeline’s a drug trafficking route running through Knoxville extending along I-75 from Michigan to Florida. 

The convergence of I-75 and I-40 on Knoxville make the city an ideal distribution node. That not only attracts street dealers today but also likely attracted clinics and opioid dispensaries when Florida’s tightened regulations removed their previous haven for irresponsible prescriptions. 

With them came Opana, a chronic pain medication believed to be the core of Knoxville’s opioid crisis that has flooded Tennessee. Nashville Attorney General Herbert Slater III sued Opana producer, Endo Pharmaceuticals, on behalf of the state for violating the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act according to a 2019 release. 

The Drug Trafficking Attorney Generals Refuse to Allow

While heroin was identified as the main issue in 2015, Knoxville law enforcement is currently trying to curb the flow of fentanyl and methamphetamine from Detroit, which has been contributing to a significant increase in violence and overdose deaths locally.

The 313 Initiative quietly began in December 2022, and since then, 46 arrests connected to Detroit have been reported. Similarly, 8 pounds of fentanyl and heroin, multiple other drugs and 29 guns have been seized. 

The DAs have emphasized the importance of sharing information and intelligence, rather than keeping it locked away in a case file, to aid in curbing drug trafficking and other criminal activities in the region.

“This going to send a strong message to Detroit drug dealers that East Tennessee is not a place for them to set up shop,” District 8 Attorney General Jared Effler told WBIR 10 News.

Get Out of the Drug Addiction Crossfire

If you’re buying and using these drugs recreationally in East Tennessee, there’s a good chance it could be coming from Michigan. In which case, you could get swept up in these arrests very easily. Certain dealers are being targeted, and you may not know you’re associated with them.

Quitting while you’re ahead may be more doable than you think. Reach out to an addiction specialist today at 865-448-5174. You can find the nearest addiction treatment facility here.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.