Knox man convicted in oxycodone and marijuana distribution ring

Knoxville man convicted in oxycodone and marijuana distribution ring

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James LaPointe (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) James LaPointe (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A jury in federal court Thursday convicted a Knoxville man of several drug distribution and drug possession charges.

James LaPointe was found guilty of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and marijuana, and attempting to possess oxycodone with intent to distribute.

LaPointe faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a mandatory minimum of three years of supervised release. He's due to be sentenced on October 25.

The evidence in trial showed that LaPointe was part of a pill and marijuana distribution ring that began operating in September 2007.

That's when LaPointe's co-defendant, Lance Barabas, began shipping quantities of oxycodone from Florida to East Tennessee.

The drug packages were received by Barabas' associates, including co-defendant Dustin Wallace, who would divide the oxycodone pills for distribution to customers for cash.

After meeting Dustin Wallace in October 2008, LaPointe became one of his distributors.

Eventually, LaPointe agreed to accept one of the packages of oxycodone at his business, Integrated Security, at 1645 Downtown West Boulevard.

The package was scheduled to arrive on October 27, 2009, the date of LaPointe's arrest, but law enforcement seized it instead. It contained 175 oxycodone pills.

The evidence included 22 phone conversations intercepted in a federal wiretap, along with the testimony of three codefendants and DEA agents.

The evidence showed that during the two-year period the group operated, it was responsible for distributing nearly 150,000 oxycodone pills.

Barabas and Wallace previously pleaded guilty to their part in the conspiracy.

A total of 14 defendants have been convicted in the probe.

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