U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee
(865) 545-4167
November 24, 2014

Former Newport Police Detective Captain to Serve Prison Sentence for Distributing Controlled Substances

GREENEVILLE, TN—On Nov. 24, 2014, James Finley Holt, 59, of Cosby, Tenn., was sentenced to serve 90 months in prison by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Judge. Holt pleaded guilty to an information charging him with distribution of controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

The conviction of Holt was the result of an undercover investigation, spanning several months, conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s office. An undercover investigation by the TBI from April 2014 through July 2014 revealed that Holt bought stolen property and sold it from convenience stores he owned with his wife in Newport Tenn. He also distributed hydrocodone and swapped the drug for stolen property. Many of the transactions occurred while Holt was on duty as a detective captain with the Newport Police Department. In July 2014 Holt was arrested and search warrants were executed by TBI and other agencies, both at his residence and the Newport Police Department. Evidence seized included pill bottles, pills, a short barrel shotgun and other items outlined in the factual basis for the plea agreement on file with the U.S. District Court.

Agencies assisting TBI included the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s office, Tennessee Highway Patrol and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Wayne Taylor represented the United States.

U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said, “Holt illegally used his badge and the trust placed in him for personal gain. While the quantity of drugs he distributed was small by federal prosecution standards, his conviction was important because he victimized the community he swore to protect. Furthermore, he betrayed the brave men and women of law enforcement who risk their lives to protect and serve. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to make it a priority to support law enforcement in the effort to protect the integrity and honor of the profession from those who abuse the privilege of wearing a badge.”

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn stated, “This case was a blemish on the law enforcement community and those who do their best to uphold the law and maintain transparency. As a result of this investigation, it is my hope that we can all move forward and work harder to maintain public trust.”

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