GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On March 19, 2021, a federal jury convicted, Lynn Richard Norton, 61, of Morristown, Tennessee, of conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. As a result of the convictions, the defendant faces a prison sentence of 15 years up to life. The Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, United States District Judge, presided over the trial. Sentencing is scheduled for September 13, 2021.
Beginning in early 2019, according to evidence presented at trial, Norton conspired to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine with James Ward, another defendant who pled guilty to the charge and who testified against Norton. Ward testified he supplied Norton with two to four ounces of methamphetamine per week, and on two occasions, Norton sold Ward methamphetamine. On April 8, 2019, Norton also sold methamphetamine and a Bryco Arms 9 mm pistol to a confidential informant who was working with the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office. Norton has a number of prior felony convictions, including convictions for drug dealing, aggravated assault, and escape. Based on his record, Norton is considered an armed career criminal under federal law and therefore faces a sentence of 15 years to life.
This was the first federal criminal jury trial completed in Greeneville in the Eastern District of Tennessee since the expiration of the Court’s standing order suspending jury trials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Investigating agencies included the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office, the Johnson City Police Department, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Swecker and Mac Heavener represented the United States in court.
This case was part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program. 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. The program began in 1988 when Congress authorized the Director of The Office of National Drug Control Policy designate areas within the United States that exhibit serious drug trafficking problems and harmfully impact other areas of the country as HIDTAs.
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