Two people are behind bars and charges are pending against two others after an undercover investigation in Cocke County led officers to find drugs at three separate houses. In one of those homes, crack and marijuana were found hidden in a child's toy box.
According to Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes, officers served search warrants simultaneously at three homes in Newport on Thursday. The searches came after undercover officers were able to buy crack cocaine at 356 Filbert Street, 516 Mineral Street, and 641 Lookout Drive.
Investigators believe the three homes are being used by four people: Craig Stewart, Steve Maxwell, Shawn Russell Phillips, and Terranie Ray, who work together to sell and deliver crack cocaine.
At the home on Lookout Drive, officers found 8 grams of what is believed to be crack cocaine and 3 grams of suspected marijuana in a toy box in the children's rooms. Authorities said the Department of Children's Services would be notified about that discovery. They also found a couple of guns. Phillips and Ray were arrested at the home.
Ray, 22, was charged with Posession of Schedule II with intent to resale, Posession of Schedule VI, Posession of a prohibited weapon, and Posession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Phillips, 27, was charged with Posession of Schedule II with intent to resale, Posession of Schedule VI, Posession of a prohibited weapon, and Posession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He has a criminal history that includes aggravated assault, hit and run, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and various drug and assault charges.
On Filbert Street, the searchers found 71 rocks of suspected crack cocaine, one large rock of suspected crack cocaine, approximately 11.9 grams of suspected powder cocaine, multiple packaging containers with suspected cocaine residue, Xanax, Oxycodone, and digital scales. All of the drugs were were found in Craig "Hot Dog" Stewart's bedroom. He has not yet been charged, but Sheriff Fontes said the evidence against him would be presented to a grand jury.
At Steve Maxwell's home on Mineral Street, officers found eight marijuana plants growing in the window. No one was home. Authorities plan to also present evidence against Maxwell to a grand jury.
In a release, Sheriff Fontes said, "This investigation was a huge success for law enforcement combating the sale and delivery of dangerous drugs which are disrupting families within our community. This investigation is one of multiple investigations the Cocke County Sheriff's Offices have been conducting over the past several weeks."
Anyone with information on illegal activity is asked to call the Cocke County Sheriff's office at 423-623-6023 or visit their website to leave an anonymous tip.