10 arrested in Grainger Co. drug bust

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RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- UPDATE: Grainger County deputies made a huge discovery at the home of James Gann, Jr. They were serving a warrant for Gann on other drug charges when they stumbled on a large scale meth cooking operation. "This meth lab was very dangerous. It was active, it was putting off fumes," said Sheriff Scott Layel.

Layel tells me this case is especially disgusting because Gann's elderly parents and aunt were in the home just one floor above the potentially explosive meth lab. "They had to be evacuated from the home," the sheriff said.

Cops say Gann was using the most dangerous meth cooking formula -- the shake-and-bake option. "It's very combustible and could blow up at any time."

All the police action wasn't enough to deter Gann's would-be customers. At least nine showed up and were promptly arrested. "Well they were stunned. It was kind of like the deer in the headlights look. Got 'em," Gann said.

And he got their cars too. They seized three vehicles in the bust. The sheriff says it's a major blow to one of the county's top meth pushers. "It's a victory for Grainger County today."


RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Ten people were arrested following a raid on a Grainger Co. home. Authorities not only nabbed the man they said had a working meth lab in the basement, they also arrested nine others who they claim showed up wanting to buy drugs.

Deputies and agents arrived at the home, 1949 Jackson Rd., Rutledge, to serve James Donald Gann, Jr. with a indictment charging him with two counts of Sale and Delivery of Schedule II Narcotics when they found the active lab in the basement.

"It's a major strike against the drug faction," said Sheriff Scott Layel. "Gann was considered a major dealer in our county."

In addition to the original charges, Gann now faces charges of Manufacturing Meth, Possession of Schedule II Narcotics for Resale, and two counts of Reckless Endangerment. His bond was set at $78,000 and his arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday, September 20.

The East Tennessee Meth Task Force quarantined the home, while three elderly people who live upstairs were sent to stay with relatives during the cleanup.

While officers were there, police said nine individuals arrived wanting to buy narcotics. They were immediately arrested and taken to the sheriff's office.

Layel called the arrests "a victory for the people of Grainger Co. They kept on coming and we kept on arresting."

Those individual were identified as (listed with charges):

  • Tracy Dunlap, 37, Knoxville - Promotion to Manufacture Meth, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, bond was set at $50,000

  • Deana Kay Smith, 42, Knoxville - Promotion to Manufacture Meth, Possession of Crack Cocaine, Possession of Legend Drugs, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, bond was set at $56,500

  • Melissa Mitchell Davenport, 44, Powell - Attempt to Possess Schedule II, bond was set at $3,000

  • Ashley Christine Knight, 25, Corrington - Attempt to Purchase Schedule II Narcotics, bond was set at $3,000

  • Stacy Murr, 26, Mascot - Attempt to Purchase Schedule II Narcotics, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Schedule IV Narcotics, bond was set at $6,500

  • Kristy Dawn Best, 20, Rutledge - Attempt to Purchase Schedule II Narcotics, Underage Consumption of Alcohol, bond was set at $3,250

  • Coty Alan Dalton, 22, Blaine - Attempt to Purchase Schedule II Narcotics, Possession of Firearm in Commission of Felony, Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor Child, bond was set at $10,000

  • Randy Lynn Hammontree, Jr., 29, Mascot - Attempt to Purchase Schedule II Narcotics, Possession of a Prohibited Weapon in Commission of a Felony, bond was set at $3,500

  • Justin Alex Scearce, 25, Rutledge - Sale and Delivery of Counterfeit Narcotics, bond was set at $20,000

James Donald Gann, Jr.

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