MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — Three suspects are facing federal drug trafficking charges in connection to allegedly growing and attempting to sell marijuana.

The Jackson Metro Narcotics Unit searched a home in Madison County on May 17 where they arrested the suspects. Investigators say the drug bust led law enforcement officers to discover several pounds of marijuana, firearms, thousands of dollars, and a marijuana grow operation inside.

A couple from Oregon,  Michael and Tawni Boutin, along with their alleged accomplice, William Cisco of Jackson have been indicted on federal drug trafficking charges.

“A lot of people look at it as just marijuana,” Jackson Metro Narcotics Unit, Lt. Chris Long said. “It’s legal in Oregon and it’s legal in California, but we’re not in Oregon and we’re not in California. We’re in Jackson, Tennessee.”

Law enforcement officers in Madison County conducted what they call a ‘knock and talk’, after receiving information about alleged drug trafficking inside the residence. The claim came from an anonymous tip.

“We go out and investigate every tip,” Lt. Long said.

According to court papers, The Jackson-Madison County Metro Narcotics Unit found several illegal items at the home on Watson Road.

“There were 2 marijuana grows,” Lt. Long said. “Active marijuana grows inside the residence.”

In addition to that, investigators say there was a tour bus on the property with 3 pounds of butane hash oil, a marijuana concentrate, and $7,000 in cash.

“We’ve been watching won’t go into great detail, but we’ve been watching,” Lt. Long said.

You may recognize Micheal and his wife Tawni from a reality tv show called “Weed Country”. The series followed dealers and growers in the northern California and Oregon areas.

“It obviously brought some light to the community that these folks were from Oregon,” Lt. Long said.

William Cisco’s relationship to the couple is still being investigated. If convicted, the three suspects could face 10 to 25 years in prison.

“Right now their just allegations and those folks are innocent until proven guilty,” Lt. Long said. “But we are quite comfortable with our case and the investigation that we did that we will be able to bring these folks to justice.”

U.S. Attorney Mike Dunavant released a statement in regards to the indictment saying, “Here in the Western District of Tennessee, we are not ‘weed country’, and this office will enforce the rule of law by prosecuting marijuana cultivation, distribution, and possession aggressively.”

No word on when the three suspects will appear in court. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Wilson is prosecuting the case on behalf of the U.S. Government.

 

HAYWOOD COUNTY, Tenn. — Students at a local elementary school receive a special farewell from their guidance counselor.

Franklin Davenport from Haywood Elementary School in Brownsville has written a personal note to every one of his 500-plus students over the past few months, since he decided this will be his last year at the school.

In the letters, he tells the students how important they are and encourages them to keep up the good work in school. He also describes the special relationship he has with each of them.

“He’s usually in the hallways, so whenever we see him he’s always saying, ‘Hey, Mandy!” And he’s seeing what we’re doing,” third grader Mandy Butner said.

Davenport says that even though he is leaving the school, he wants all the students to discover the leaders in themselves.

JACKSON, Tenn.–Jackson police are investigating after a woman was run over by a car at a local mall…and it was all caught on camera.

In the viral video, Jackson police said two women got into an argument in the Old Hickory Mall parking lot, Sunday afternoon.
The video shows the driver running over the woman with her car. The woman then stands back up and starts slowly walking.

Jackson police say the woman suffered serious, but non life-threatening injuries.
The Jackson Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division is looking into the case.

JACKSON, Tenn. — The Billy Schrivner Softball All-Star game will take place May 31 at 7 p.m. at the West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex.

Leading the Red team will be Michael Winders, the Jackson State CC head softball coach while Bethel’s John Weeks heads up the Blue team.

The rosters are as followed:

Red Team:

Brittney Minor (Camden)

Makayla Little (Greenfield)

Peyton Davidson (Chester County)

Rachel Whitley (Tipton-Rosemark)

Paige Hampton (Camden)

Kaitlyn Kelley (Lexington)

Molly Mai Borneman (Greenfield)

Caitlyn Mitchell (Scotts Hill)

Kelsey Frizzell (Munford)

Chelsey Gore (Scotts Hill)

Magen Nelson (Halls)

McKenna Moody (Huntingdon)

Harley Bartholomew (Scotts Hill)

Olivia Lowry (Bruceton)

Grace Laws (Dresden)

Maddie Neal (Gibson County)

Shelby Clifton (Tipton-Rosemark)

 

Blue Team:

Kaitlin Mooney (Riverside)

Hannah Thomas (TCA)

Sarah Putman (Dyersburg)

Mackenzie Dew (Halls)

Morgan Ungerecht (Ripley)

Melanie Alexander (Scotts Hill)

Ashley Barlow (West Carroll)

Kallie Pickens (USJ)

Audrie Washburn (McKenzie)

Kailey Hunt (Brighton)

Hope Radford (Greenfield)

Emma Simpson (Ripley)

Makayla Pugh (Munford)

Chloe Matthews (South Side)

Hannah Jackson (Dyersburg)

Amanda Perry (Brighton)

Mikayla Weeks (Chester County)

JACKSON, Tenn.–One in three people will die from cardiovascular disease or stroke. So, West Tennesseans are supporting the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Tuesday, the American Heart Association hosted a football themed 2018 luncheon to kick off the Heart Walk and Red Dress 5k at the Carl Grant Center.
More than 40 companies in Jackson, including, Call Star and Memphis Lambuth University were in attendance at the luncheon. Heart disease survivors survivors were also there. The lunch included heart healthy recipes, like chicken, brown rice and salad.

“Having a lunch here at the Grant Center and inviting everyone to come and hear about your message and your campaign is a great way to have a target audience to be sitting there and ready to listen and ready to hear how they can fight back with the American Heart Association,” said Christy Futrell, Regional Director for West TN Heart Association.

The 5K Heart Walk/Run is September 22nd at Union University.

SELMER, Tenn. — Pet owners in one community are coming together after they say multiple dogs have gone missing from their homes.

For Bonda Cummings, her Yorkie, Cooper, is more than just a pet.

“He’s like my baby. He’s got to be found,” she said. “I saved his life and, in turn, he saved mine.”

Cummings says Cooper is one of several small purebred dogs in the area that have mysteriously vanished.

“Right now there’s no closure,” she said. “I don’t know if he’s dead, I don’t know he’s been fed, I don’t know if he’s laying on the back of someone’s couch.”

Dog owners in the area say this isn’t anything new.

“He was there one minute, and he was gone the next,” Charles Howley said.

Howley’s Dachshund recently went missing just a few miles up the street.

“I’m becoming more and more aware of these dogs becoming missing in our community. I don’t think that’s very ironic,” Howley said.

Howley says it’s more than just a coincidence.

“I turn on the Facebook and scroll through, and I see another human’s companion missing once again with no explanation,” he said.

Tony Joiner says both of his Pugs went missing within three days of each other. He has a terrifying theory.

“I’m hearing that there are dog fighters in that area that take smaller dogs to train larger dogs, and I can only hope that’s not what happened,” Joiner said.

But Cummings says she won’t lose hope searching for Cooper and an explanation.

“I will find him, and I’m going to find who took him, and they are going to go to jail,” Cummings said.

Cummings says she has filed a report with the Selmer Police Department.

If you have any information about missing dogs, you can call Selmer police at 731-645-7906.

JACKSON, Tenn. — As the year comes to a close, the leader of the Jackson-Madison County School System says he’s happy to be home.

“It’s good to come home. It’s been everything my family and I hoped it would be,” Dr. Eric Jones said.

Jones is completing his first year as the leader of the district. He says this first year has been rewarding.

“I’m most proud of our community. There has been a lot of traction and attention shown to our school system in a positive direction. Our teachers have really bought into the work that’s happening inside the classrooms,” Jones said.

Jones says he came into the year with a goal.

“School climate and culture was high on the list,” Jones said

Jones says the feeling inside the classroom from the principals down to the students was very important. He says that has improved, but it’s not where it should be.

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He also says the district put new procedures in for the year.

“We implemented a new instructional framework designed on literacy; also, our program alignment and workforce development,” Jones said.

Jones kicked off the year holding community meetings, hearing from parents and getting feedback. He says it’s something his team wants to get back to doing.

“We need to do more of it. Quite frankly, we started out doing great with it, but then the job took over. This summer, we need to get back on the trail and listen to the feedback from the community,” Jones said.

WBBJ asked how has progress been on improving the buildings. Many are more than 50-years-old.

“It’s slow moving, but it’s moving forward and we are still moving toward our capital plan. We have identified a significant amount of needs,” Jones said.

The majority of Jackson-Madison County School Board members are not seeking reelection, something Jones says might not be a bad thing.

“I think it could be a positive thing. I think it’s all about building relationships and sitting down with each board member (and) finding out what they wish to accomplish,” Jones said.

Jones says he is eager and ready to continue to lead the district for years to come.

“My mindset is to say humble and hungry. Don’t let the first year be the best year we have. It’s all about progress and moving forward,” Jones said.

After WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News talked with Dr. Jones, a media release Tuesday afternoon said Richard Willis from Humboldt Stigall School would become the new principal at Isaac Lane.

Another release said long-time educator, Michael Morris will be the new leader for Northeast Middle School and Academic Academy.
Morris currently serves as district Director of School Safety.

JACKSON, Tenn. — A sea of red, white and blue as far as the eye can see.

More than 1,000 flags were lined up honoring those who have served and are still serving. It also honored those who are first responders as well as children who were lost to child abuse.

“The future are our children,” said Retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Castellaw. “It’s so important that they have the care and support and the resources they need to have a good start in life so that they can have those values that is so important to us as a nation.”

The ceremony was not only a way to raise awareness of child abuse, but also as a way to honor those who have sacrificed their time serving our country.

“The first responders, I think, and the military share some values and unity of purpose,” Castellaw said. “Others before self, and that’s what we need in America today.”

Air Force veteran Robert Bruce Vandiver, Sr. said this ceremony makes him proud to have served.

“It was one of the greatest experiences of my life being able to be in the military and experience all the good things that happened and the growth it gave me,” Vandiver said.

Castellaw says, regardless of race or religion, anyone should have the freedom to serve for the country.

“Anybody that feels that they need to serve this country, that they wanna put their lives on the line, that they are patriotic and love this country, you should be able to serve,” Castellaw said.

The flags for the display were able for purchase at $25 each. All the funds raised for the event went towards supporting the Jackson Exchange Club and the Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse.

JACKSON, Tenn. — The Boys & Girls Club of Jackson is gearing up for their summer program.

“We focus on the summer ‘brain gain’ instead of the summer learning loss,” Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Sabrina Anderson said.

Summer camp starts May 29 and ends July 13. They’ve got lots of activities planned that will take students all over Jackson.

“We’re going to be going swimming, we’ll go to the movies, we’ll be going to the Jackson Generals for the Super Splash Day,” Anderson said.

They’ll even visit the Boys & Girls Club in Brownsville for a game day.

The Jackson-Madison County Library is also preparing for their jam-packed summer.

“The library has eight weeks of summer library programs for all ages throughout the summer,” Jenci Spradlin, adult services librarian, said. “We kick that off June 2 and we end up on July 28, and there’s going to be things to do every single day of the week.”

The theme for the library this summer is “libraries rock.” They’ll host everything from movie sing-a-longs to a rock, paper, scissors tournament.

“Everything for our summer program is free,” Spradlin said. “And also with our summer program we have challenge sheets for different age groups with different activities to do.”

And every person that completes a challenge sheet will get a ticket for a free admission to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

If you’re looking to get outside this summer, the City of Jackson has several playgrounds to take your kids to all summer long. The Recreation and Parks Department also has several things planned including soccer camps, tennis camps and even an astronomy party.

For information about preteen vaccinations, visit the Centers for Disease Control website.

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