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An apparent meth conspiracy in Hawkins County has led to criminal charges for 17 individuals. They are accused of being meth dealers.

Reports indicate that the indictments for all 17 centered around "conspiracy to distribute" meth totaling more than 50 grams. The minimum mandatory sentence, for those who are convicted, is 10 years. That being said, reports also note that the real sentences can vary significantly based on things like the amount of cooperation shown by those who are convicted and whether or not those individuals have a criminal history.

Other charges could also impact the eventual sentences. For example, six of the individuals have been accused of possessing firearms at the same time that they are accused of committing drug-trafficking crimes. If they are convicted on those charges as well, it could mean five additional years behind bars.

The whole situation may be tied to a decline in the availability of other drugs. There were some clinics, known as "pill-mills" that provided people with illegal prescription drugs. The authorities targeted these and shut them down. Reports claim that the chemically pure meth showed up in the area at about the same time, filling the void that the prescription medications left behind.

As this case shows, those facing serious drug charges could be looking at significant time behind bars, especially when firearms are involved. It's very important for everyone who has been accused to know what legal rights and defense options they have. Remember, everyone has the right to a fair trial, and that's incredibly important with these types of high-level charges.

Source: Citizen Tribune, "17 charged in Hawkins County meth conspiracy," Robert Moore, Aug. 1, 2017

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