A former Rutherford County Sheriff's detective who helped investigate a multi-state drug operation earned U.S. Attorney's Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement last week.
U.S. Attorney David Rivera recognized former Detective Clint Teasley and Detective Kevin Krieb of the Smyrna Police Department for their work on the case that started in 2012. Both Teasley and Krieb served on the Drug Enforcement Administration's Task Force at the time. Teasley now works in the private sector.
The U.S. Attorney's Office reported Smyrna Police began investigating a distributor of prescription opiates in 2012. The DEA Nashville Tactical Diversion Squad joined the investigation.
"Agents eventually learned that an individual named Donald Duane Buchanan Jr. was supplying thousands of opioid pills to numerous redistributors in Davidson and Rutherford counties," the U.S. Attorney's Office reported. "The DEA was able to discover that he was being supplied by sources in and around Detroit, Mich. The DEA also learned the primary source of supply was a man named Benjamin Bradley."
Bradley, who worked at a Detroit hospital, bought pills from a large network of people and directed sellers to drop off the pills at a house. He paid people to count and organize the pills and place the pills and transport the pills to Middle Tennessee. The pills were in sealed candy boxes.
Boxes of pills were transported to Cincinnati to Buchanan or his associates to exchange the pills for money.
"The investigation eventually revealed that Bradley and Buchanan had trafficked tens of thousands of prescription opiates into the district over the course of many years," the U.S. Attorney's Office reported.
Buchanan, Bradley and 15 co-conspirators were charged by a grand jury in 2015 with conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone and Oxymorphone. Buchanan, Bradley and another defendant were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Agents served search warrants and recovered thousands of pills, tens of thousands of dollars in cash, numerous firearms and other proceeds of illicit drug-trafficking. All 18 defendants were convicted. Bradley was sentenced to 17 years in prison while Buchanan was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The investigation included countless hours of physical surveillance in Middle Tennessee, Detroit and Cincinnati, extensive electronic surveillance and coordination and cooperation with federal, state and local law enforcement partners.