LONDON — The leader of a large-scale drug trafficking organization, which brought prescription drugs from Mexico to eastern Kentucky and northern Tennessee for nearly 15 years, has been sentenced to 180 months in federal prison.
On July 2, U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove sentenced 60-year-old Donald Lee King, of Speedwell, Tenn., for operating a continuing criminal enterprise to distribute a controlled substance. Under federal law, King must serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence; and following his release, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for five years. King has also forfeited nearly $75,000 in cash, multiple firearms, vehicles, and other property.
King admitted that, from around 1996 until September of 2013, he developed a large drug distribution network in which others, under his direction, made monthly trips to Texas to obtain large quantities of alprolazam (Xanax). There, they obtained the drugs from conspirators who were receiving the drugs from a supplier in Mexico. The pills were then transported back to Kentucky and distributed in Bell County, and Claiborne County, Tenn. Alprozolam is a controlled substance typically used to treat anxiety.
Six co-defendants have previously pleaded guilty and been sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Joseph P. Reagan, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Field Division, Drug Enforcement Administration, jointly made the announcement Wednesday.
The investigation was conducted by the DEA. Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Samuel Dotson represented the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the case.