Three People Indicted, Charged in Johnson City Overdose Death

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JOHNSON CITY – An investigation by the Johnson City Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation – Drug Related Death Task Force, with assistance from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, has resulted in the indictment of three people in connection to an overdose death.

TBI task force agents joined detectives with the Johnson City Police Department in investigating the death of Alexander Jordan Payne (DOB: 11/13/92) after he was found deceased at his home along Kaywood Court in Johnson City on December 19, 2023. His death was determined to be caused by fentanyl and cocaine intoxication. During the course of the investigation, authorities determined that Samatha Robinson (DOB: 12/21/89), Lavonti Montego Jeter (DOB: 10/3/85), and Macala Lynn Wheeler (DOB: 8/11/99) were involved in distributing the drugs that caused Alexander Payne’s death.

On May 1st, the Washington County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Robinson, Jeter, and Wheeler each with one count of Second Degree Murder, one count of Sale of Fentanyl, and one count of Conspiracy to Sell/Deliver Fentanyl. All three were arrested and booked into the Washington County Jail on a $50,000 bond.   

The TBI Upper East Drug Related Death Task Force (DRDTF) is a collaboration with Sullivan County, Washington County, and Carter County law enforcement agencies, such as the Johnson City Police Department, along with the Offices of the 1st and 2nd Judicial District Attorney Generals. The Task Force operates under the umbrella of the Appalachian High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (AHIDTA), based out of London, KY, which provides supplemental funding, training, equipment, assistance, and support to the Task Force. The Task Force also works with drug awareness and rehabilitation agencies in the affected counties with the goal of helping prevent the use of illegal drugs, overdoses, and drug-related deaths. The mission of the Task Force is to investigate drug overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal, with the objective of prosecuting the responsible drug sources and drug trafficking organizations.

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