One of the leaders of a gang with chapters across the United States has been sentenced for running an armed drug operation along with other gang members.

Alim J. Turner, 23, was the leader and organizer of the crimes he had been accused of running and committing.

The Knoxville leader of the Unknown Ghost Vice Lords is being sentenced to life-plus ten years in prison, according to a statement from the FBI/DOJ - Eastern District of Tennessee.

Turner was convicted in July of 2021 along with six other gang members for their roles in conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, marijuana, oxycodone, alprazolam and buprenorphine, among other controlled dangerous substances.

They were all convicted as well on charges for possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, the illegal distribution of drugs and unlawful possession of firearms in East Tennessee.

It wasn't only the drug operation charges Turner and the other were convicted of either as they were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and it was witnesses at the trial who pinned Turner as the Knoxville leader of this street gang.

There were seven other charged members of the conspiracy who previously pleaded guilty, according to the FBI.

Turner's sentence was lengthened due to the fact he used minors to help commit his crimes and threatened violence against people along the way.

While Turner has been sentenced, the others will be in the months to come.

"Gang violence, coupled with armed trafficking of lethal drugs, has resulted in devastation and death within our community. This sentence sends a powerful message that armed gang leaders who recruit and use minors to flood the community with drugs and who employ credible threats of violence in their crimes will face justice," United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III, said in a statement. "This case is an example of the Department of Justice’s comprehensive strategy to target and prosecute the most serious offenders who pose the greatest threats to safety and peace within the community."

"Illegal drug trafficking continues to have a devastating and horrific impact on communities throughout our nation. This life sentence sends a very strong message to those who engage in these unlawful activities. The FBI and our law enforcement partners remain dedicated to identifying, investigating, and apprehending those who terrorize our communities with their reckless and illegal behavior," FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph Carrico said in a statement.

"Without question, the conviction and sentencing of this defendant will have a profound effect on public safety and quality of life, most significantly in the inner-city where Turner committed numerous acts of violence as an influential gang member. I am extremely proud of the work that KPD Investigators Brandon Stryker and Brandon Glover did over an extensive period of time to dismantle a violent inner-city gang, of which Turner was a member. In their capacity as KPD investigators assigned as task force officers to the FBI, they worked collaboratively with the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s office, and their colleagues in KPD’s Organized Crime Unit to end this defendant’s contributions to creating fear in the lives of citizens who seek only to raise their families in a safe community," Captain Tony Willis, KPD Organized Crimes Unit said in a statement. "We are likewise grateful for the support and collaboration of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in prosecuting this violent inner-city gang."

Assistant United States Attorneys David P. Lewen, Jr. and Brent N. Jones represent the United States in this case.

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