Eight arrested in multi-city drug roundup

Jul. 20, 2013 @ 11:29 PM

Eight people are behind bars and more than 18 grams of cocaine were taken off the street this week after the Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force raided three homes where investigators say drugs were being sold.

The task force went to homes on Valley Drive in Pigeon Forge and on Pin Oak Drive and Grey Slate Circle in Sevierville Thursday, District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn said Thursday.

The homes were allegedly connected to a trafficking network that had been operating in Sevier County. Dunn said the investigation started with the Sevierville Police Department, but it eventually involved the Pigeon Forge Police Department, Sevier County Sheriff’s Office and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, as well as the task force.

“The good results of this investigation are due to the several law enforcement agencies working together to prosecute those who sell and deliver drugs in our community,” Dunn said.

At the Valley Drive location were found more than eight ounces of cocaine, pharmaceutical pills and a small amount of marijuana, Dunn said. Also seized were $2,270 in cash and two vehicles. Investigators charged three people with possession of a schedule II substance for resale: Ronnie Joel Zuniga, 33, of 228 Grayslate Drive; Zulima Martinez, 30, of 309 Valley Drive in Pigeon Forge; Keisha Keen, 22, of Knoxville.

While agents were present, another man showed up with the alleged intention of supplying Xanax and marijuana to one of the people present in the house, Dunn said. Travis Rondell Gourley, 32, of 3075 Walden Ridge Road in Sevierville, was charged with two counts of possession of a schedule IV and possession of a schedule VI substance.

At the home on Grey Slate Circle in Sevierville, officers found 10.5 grams of cocaine, and seized a vehicle along with $2,176 in cash, Dunn said. They charged John F. Sierra, 19, of 221 Gray Slate Circle in Sevierville with possession of a schedule II substance for resale and Jonathan Benitez, 31, of 221 Gray Slate Circle with possession of drug paraphernalia.

At the home on Valley Drive in Pigeon Forge, investigators found cocaine packaging materials and seized $1,148 in cash along with a vehicle. While there, they charged Elvin Amardor Zuniga, 24, of 1040 Candy Tuft Lane in Sevierville, with driving without a license, possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of probation. They also charged Delmi Nunez, 29, of 1210 Pin Oak Drive in Sevierville, with possession of drug paraphernalia.

The investigation is not finished and more arrests are anticipated, Dunn said.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com