NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Nashville man, the final defendant in a large drug distribution conspiracy, will spend more than 17 years behind bars after being sentenced earlier this week, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said 40-year-old Eric Jenkins was sentenced to 210 months in federal prison on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

According to officials, Jenkins — along with 40-year-old Jacob Mosely and 50-year-old Howard Dowell, also of Nashville — were indicted by a grand jury in October 2020.

All three men were charged with conspiracy to distribute at least one kilogram of heroin, at least 400 grams of fentanyl, and at least 28 grams of cocaine, as well as possession with intent to distribute these drugs, the DOJ reported.

The department said Mosely and Jenkins were also charged with committing these crimes following a conviction for a serious drug felony. In addition, Jenkins was charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine following a conviction for a serious drug felony.

According to the DOJ, Jenkins was initially arrested in June 2020 following a months-long investigation, which led to the search of an apartment in the Overhill Apartment Complex — where the defendants were seen entering and exiting multiple times — in February 2020.

During the search, authorities said they recovered more than five kilograms of heroin; more than three kilograms of a heroin and fentanyl mixture; about one kilogram of fentanyl; more than 32 grams of cocaine base; kilo presses; approximately $45,000 in cash; and a .380 caliber pistol.  

Over the course of the undercover investigation, Jenkins indicated that he and his co-conspirators had used the Overhill apartment as a stash house and that $700,000 worth of fentanyl had been taken by robbers or law enforcement, officials reported.

“Undeterred by the loss, or the possibility that law enforcement was aware of the illegal drug activity, during the undercover investigation Jenkins also agreed to purchase 10 kilograms of cocaine for $240,000,” the DOJ said.

On June 18, 2020, Jenkins was arrested by undercover officers when he showed up to conduct the transaction, according to officials. After that, Jenkins called another person and directed him to turn $230,030 over to law enforcement. 

The DOJ said all defendants had previously pleaded guilty, adding that Mosely was sentenced to 210 months in prison on May 4, 2021, while Dowell was sentenced to 135 months.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) reportedly investigated the case, which was then prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda J. Klopf. 

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This case is part of an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), which “identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks,” officials said.