A Knoxville man was convicted of selling heroin and fentanyl Wednesday in Knox County Criminal Court.
Joshua Xavier Beasley, 29, was found guilty of one count each of sale of heroin in a drug-free school zone and possession with intent to sell heroin and fentanyl in a drug-free school zone.
The verdicts were returned at the conclusion of a one-day trial before Judge Steve Sword, according to the Knox County District Attorney’s Office.
Beasley had been convicted once before of drug dealing in 2013. He was labeled by local authorities as a member of the Gangster Disciples street gang, but prosecutors didn’t seek a gang enhancement at trial, said DA’s Office spokesperson Sean McDermott.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant DA TaKisha Fitzgerald of the Career Gang Unit.
“Fitzgerald explained to the jury that on multiple occasions in June and July 2019, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Mike Davis used a confidential informant to make controlled purchases of drugs from Beasley at a residence on Knoxville College Drive near Maynard Elementary School,” McDermott said in a press release.
“SA Davis had the informant place recorded telephone calls to Beasley ordering drugs and provided the informant with an audio and video recording device to monitor the drug deals,” he continued. “Based upon those controlled purchases, SA Davis executed a search warrant at the residence on July 25, 2019, where Beasley was in possession of 22 grams of powder that was a combination of both heroin and fentanyl.”
Authorities estimated the drugs in Beasley’s possession had a street value of approximately $4,400 to $8,800.
Fentanyl is a highly potent narcotic painkiller used for decades in hospitals and for outpatient chronic pain treatment. Because of its cost and strength, organized crime groups began cutting heroin with it several years ago, leading to tens of thousands of overdose deaths across the country.
In Knox County alone, 239 people have died from overdoses this far this year, most of them involving fentanyl, authorities say.
“Fentanyl and heroin continue to be among the top drugs found in drug-related deaths,” DA Charme Allen said. “We will continue our work taking these deadly drugs off our streets and holding the dealers accountable.”
Beasley was ordered into custody by Judge Sword after the verdict was announced. He faces 15 to 25 years in prison for each of the drug trafficking counts at his August 26 sentencing hearing.
Published on July 16, 2021