GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Tennessee inmate was convicted to life in prison by the U.S. District Court of Tennessee at Greeneville for drug and money laundering offenses.
Charles Elsea Jr., 44, was sentenced to life in prison after a six-jury trial in March 2022 found him guilty of conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Elsea was previously serving a prison sentence for first-degree murder in a 1996 homicide charge in Hamilton County. He was rising through the ranks to become the State President of the Brotherhood Forever, a Tennessee-based prison gang, according to the news release.
The new release also states that Elsea led a drug trafficking organization from prison using smuggled cellphones. The trafficking went from California to Arizona to Tennessee.
Elsea was said to be working with other people to use the funds from the methamphetamine sales to grow marijuana houses in and out of Tennessee. There were reports about Elsea being involved in two marijuana grow operations during the pendency of the case by using the jail’s video system to speak to other groups.
The investigation took five years by the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Judge Ronnie Greer found that Elsea was responsible for distributing over 56.8 kilograms of methamphetamine. Elsea was ordered to forfeit $1,263,490.00, which represented the illegal money from distributing methamphetamine and money laundering, according to the news release.