Crimetracker: Guzman pleads guilty to failure to appear

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Maryville woman accused of running a pill mill has pleaded guilty to failure to appear. Tamral Guzman, 42, entered her plea in federal court in Knoxville on Thursday. She'll be sentenced March 20.

Guzman was originally charged in a 57-count indictment in connection with the pill mill. Her trial on those charges started September 24, 2012. She attended her trial every day until October 2, when she disappeared. The District Court issued a warrant for her arrest and continued with the trial, convicting her on all 57 counts two days later.

On October 30, police in Florida, with the help of U.S. Marshals, found a vehicle they believed Guzman had been driving. Police set up surveillance on the vehicle, identified Guzman and arrested her. She admitted to officers that she had been living in a local hotel, paying for expenses with cash, and working in a local restaurant under an assumed name with her boyfriend and co-defendant, Brian Hatcher. A week later, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Guzman and Hatcher, including the failure to appear charges.

Hatcher pleaded guilty on December 20 and faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison for accessory after the fact, as well as a maximum term of 20 years in prison for retaliating against a witness.

“This conviction is notice to all that running from the custody of the U.S. Marshals is an additional offense which we will prosecute. The federal judicial system must be respected. I extend my sincere praise for the work of the Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Blount County Drug Task Force and the U.S. Marshals Service for their diligent and successful work that resulted in these convictions,” said U. S. Attorney Bill Killian. “We are also very appreciative of the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kolman for her prosecution of these cases,” he added.

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