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McMinn Co. investigators bust 'Propane Cowboys' meth ring, charging more than a dozen

Sheriff Guy said 12 of the 16 suspects were behind bars as of Wednesday. The arrests came after a months-long investigation by local and state investigators.
Credit: MCSO

MCMINN COUNTY, Tenn. — The McMinn County Sheriff's Office said 16 people are facing charges after a months-long investigation into a major methamphetamine distribution ring in the region.

According to Sheriff Joe Guy, state and local authorities have been covertly investigating a drug distribution ring that reached as far as North Georgia over the past 6 months, which he dubbed the "Propane Cowboys."

The sheriff said law enforcement eventually seized 8 kilograms of meth, various quantities of cocaine, Xanax and hydrocodone.

A total of 16 people have been indicted in the investigation. 

On April 21, McMinn County deputies, the 10th Judicial District Drug Task Force and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation conducted an operation to arrest the 16 people charged in the investigation. Guy said most of the arrests were in the Athens and Nitoa areas, and four suspects remain at large as of Wednesday.

“I want to commend our officers, the DTF agents, and the TBI for the great work that was done to take down this major meth operation,” Guy said. “The Propane Cowboys case is a victory for the citizens of our county as well as also our region and our state.”

Sheriff Guy said the following 12 people were arrested and are facing numerous charges involving possession, manufacture and sale of methamphetamine:

  • Raymond Scott Knox
  • Melissa Skinner
  • Jonathan Knox
  • Kenneth Huckaby (taken into federal custody)
  • Douglas Hutchison
  • George Buchanan
  • Lawrence Schmidt
  • Russell Rouse (booked into Bradley County Jail)
  • Zachery Liner
  • Felix Macuga III
  • Stacy Dewayne Moses
  • Wanda Simpson

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