KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says a person suspected of being a fentanyl dealer has now been charged in connection with a drug overdose that led to the death of a Monroe County father in 2021.

Essley Watson (Photo via MCSO)

The sheriff’s office said Hunter Hawkins was indicted after a nearly year-long investigation. He has been charged with second-degree murder and is also facing drug charges.

“Essley “Lee” Watson, was more than someone facing the demons of addiction. Mr. Watson was a son, a father, a friend, and many other roles in many people’s lives. Many people’s lives will be changed forever with the loss of Mr. Watson,” said Monroe County Sheriff Tommy Jones in a post about the case.

In the same post, Jones sent a warning to drug dealers. “It is only a matter of time before we find you,” he said.