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U.S. Attorney’s Office Announces Sentencing, Prosecution of Louisville-Area Cocaine Ring

JEFFERSONVILLE—Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced this afternoon that Jesse K. Bottoms, Sr., age 47, of Sellersburg, Indiana, has been sentenced to 168 months (14 years) in prison by federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. Bottoms was also ordered to forfeit $37,568. The sentencing of Bottoms, the leader of a multi-state cocaine trafficking organization, marks the 15th defendant to be sentenced, with three additional defendants awaiting sentencing.

“This group of individuals spent two years peddling drugs and death on the streets of Louisville and throughout Southern Indiana,” said Hogsett. “Now, thanks to the invaluable assistance of our federal and local law enforcement partners, we can announce today that none of them will walk the streets of the Louisville metro area for a long, long time.”

“The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in Indiana has a long track record of successfully taking down this type of large criminal organization,” added First Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler. “There is no doubt that the significant sentences handed down over the course of this prosecution send a powerful message about how seriously federal law enforcement treats drug trafficking.”

In September 2010, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers served 16 search warrants (eight in Indiana, seven in Kentucky, and one in Illinois) as part of an investigation into an area cocaine trafficking organization. Seized during the execution of those search and arrest warrants were approximately 10 ounces of cocaine, $82,000 in cash, and 30 firearms, including two AR-15 assault rifles.

At a hearing this morning, a change of plea was entered and a sentence was imposed in the matter of Bottoms, who from July 2008 until September 2010 was the ring leader of the drug trafficking organization. Bottoms was responsible for acquiring large quantities of cocaine from his sources and then providing cocaine to mid-level cocaine distributors in southern Indiana and throughout Louisville.

The investigation uncovered that as part of this trafficking scheme, bulk quantities of cocaine and cash were maintained at “stash” houses in Louisville. In order to protect their money and drugs, conspirators possessed numerous assault rifles, shotguns, and pistols.

This resulted in the indictment of the following 15 individuals in September 2010, with their respective subsequent prison sentences as indicated:

  • Jesse K. Bottoms, Sr., age 47, Sellersburg, Indiana—168 months;
  • Mario Holbrook, age 50, Louisville, Kentucky—27 months;
  • Antwan C. Allen, age 27, Louisville, Kentucky—42 months;
  • John Minor, age 34, Louisville, Kentucky—51 months;
  • Gerrard W. Bass, age 31, Louisville, Kentucky—32 months;
  • Wess C. Nelson, age 46, Glen Ellyn, Illinois—120 months;
  • Scott Sipes, age 59, Louisville, Kentucky—12 months;
  • Russell L. Embry, Sr., age 46, Clarksville, Indiana—48 months;
  • Warren A. Garbrough, age 46, Clarksville, Indiana—37 months;
  • Mike A. Helm, Jr., age 33, Louisville, Kentucky—36 months’ supervised release
  • Jesse K. Bottoms, Jr., age 22, Sellersburg, Indiana—20 months;
  • Amber N. Tucker, age 24, Clarksville, Indiana—15 months;
  • Marshaun L. Long, age 37, New Albany, Indiana—15 months;
  • Johnathon E. Rickards, age 41, New Albany, Indiana—11 months;
  • Nia Bottoms, age 45, Sellersburg, Indiana—60 months’ probation.

Three additional defendants have filed petitions to enter a plea of guilty in this case and are awaiting sentencing.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler, who prosecuted the case for the government, all but three of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine. Nia Bottoms and Amber Tucker were charged with one count of knowingly and intentionally using a communication facility to facilitate the commission of an act constituting a felony. Jesse Bottoms, Jr. was charged with one count of transferring a firearm, knowing that the firearm would be used in a drug trafficking crime.

This indictment was the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division; the Indiana State Police; the Jeffersonville, Indiana Police Department; and the Charlestown, Indiana Police Department.

In addition to the agencies named above, the following agencies assisted in arrests and searches as part of this case: Chicago FBI, Clark County Sheriff’s Department, Clarksville Police Department, Floyd County Sheriff’s Department, Illinois State Police, Indianapolis FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force, Louisville FBI, Louisville Metro Police Department, New Albany Police Department, Scottsburg Police Department, Seymour Police Department, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

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