A 30-year-old Detroit man who led a heroin dealing ring in Knoxville faces a 23-year prison sentence.
Knox County Criminal Court Judge Bob McGee sentenced Waynard Q. Winbush on Thursday.
A jury convicted Winbush in August of counts that include conspiracy to possess with intent to sell and deliver heroin in a drug-free school zone, conspiracy to possess with intent to sell oxymorphone in a drug-free school zone, and possession with intent to sell oxycodone in a drug-free park zone.
Prosecutors with the Knox County District Attorney General's Felony Drug Unit alleged Winbush led a group the dealt kilos of heroin in the area.
On Thursday, they sought a beefed-up sentence for Winbush because of the extent of his crimes. His sentencing range was 15 to 25 years.
Drug overdose deaths have doubled in the past five years in Knox County with no signs of abating. Heroin is a contributor to the epidemic.
A Knoxville Police Department investigation found that between Jan. 3, 2013, and July 31, 2013, Winbush and five others were bringing from Detroit to Knoxville heroin, oxyvodone and oxymorphone.
They used the Greyhound bus as well as rental cars to move the drugs, according to prosecutors.
They used residences on Adair Drive, Chickamauga Avenue and New York Avenue as sales points.
Locally, Winbush had help from several people who sold drugs to feed their own addiction.
Prosecutors say the ring brought in prescription pills for resale as well as heroin.
Detroit conspirators who have pleaded guilty already: August O. Allen, 33, Christopher J. Holloway, 30, Jordan C. Page, 24, Joseph Green, 29, and Coleman E. Strickland, 43.
Local conspirators who have pleaded guilty already: Timothy K. Ford, 57, Megan L. Huffaker, 26, and Amanda M. Maples, 35.