A convicted heroin dealer operating in and around Chattanooga will spend the next 30 years in federal prison.
Beginning in 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted court-authorized wiretaps on gang members’ phones as part of their investigation into an interstate heroin-distribution operation. Through those wiretaps, they uncovered the involvement of 51-year-old James “the Prince” Silas of Dolton, Illinois.
Silas is the leader of the Mafia Insane Vice Lords, a violent nationwide street gang. Silas used his gang contact to develop a heroin-distribution network in cities including Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Atlanta.
Police brought Silas from Illinois to the Eastern District of Tennessee for a five-day trial that culminated with Silas’ conviction last November of conspiring to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin.
The Justice Department says Silas provided his distributors with a form of heroin known as “Chicago Gray,” which quickly became the drug of choice among users.
In addition to Silas’ 30 years in prison, he will spend five years on supervised release. He also forfeited $600,000 in proceeds from his illegal drug sales.