KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A gang leader will spend the rest of his life in prison for multiple drug and weapons violations. Alim J. Turner, 23, of Knoxville, was sentenced to life plus 10 years Wednesday, Jan. 12, in U.S. District Court.

Turner was one of six Unknown Ghost Vice Lords gang members convicted in July for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, marijuana, oxycodone, alprazolam, and buprenorphine.

Witnesses testified at trial that Turner was the Knoxville leader of the street gang. The jury also convicted Turner and other defendants of conspiracy to commit money laundering, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, illegal distribution of drugs, and unlawful possession of firearms.

“Without question, the conviction and sentencing of this defendant will have a profound effect on public safety and quality of life, most significantly in the inner-city where Turner committed numerous acts of violence as an influential gang member,” said Capt. Tony Willis with the Knoxville Police Department’s Organized Crimes Unit. “I am extremely proud of the work that KPD Investigators Brandon Stryker and Brandon Glover did over an extensive period of time to dismantle a violent inner-city gang, of which Turner was a member.”

According to court documents, seven other charged members of the conspiracy previously pleaded guilty.

The trial revealed Turner used minors to commit his crimes and threated violence against others in connection with his crimes.

“Gang violence, coupled with armed trafficking of lethal drugs, has resulted in devastation and death within our community,” said U.S. Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III. “This sentence sends a powerful message that armed gang leaders who recruit and use minors to flood the community with drugs and who employ credible threats of violence in their crimes will face justice.”

The investigation was conducted by the Knoxville Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, Cleveland Police Department, Chattanooga Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, the Tennessee Department of Corrections, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives also assisted in this investigation by conducting drug and firearms analysis on seized evidence in the case.