A former Selmer alderman and candidate for mayor has pleaded guilty to possession of a large quantity of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute the drug.

Nickolas “Nicky” Atkins, 41, a resident of Selmer, Tenn., has pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney, announced the guilty plea.

A joint-task force investigation was initiated in March, 2018 into the activities of a drug trafficking organization run by Timmy Jermaine Cole. The investigation involved the trafficking of large quantities of methamphetamine, marijuana and cocaine from individuals in Mexico into West Tennessee for distribution. Nicky Atkins was a member of the drug conspiracy to distribute over 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and hydrocodone pills, said Dunavant.

On April 15, 2019, a federal grand jury for the Western District of Tennessee, Eastern Division, returned a three-count Indictment against Timmy Jermaine Cole, Lynnie Ray Pettigrew, Rolando Garibaldi-Alvarado, Juan Javier Acosta-Melendez, Kelvin Pettigrew, Anthony McElrath, Nicky Atkins, Marcus Canty, Richard Trevino, Bayrin Hinson, Cornelius Talley, Robert Winters, Steven Williams, Scotty Tubbs and Cindy Cannon.

After his arrest, Atkins was released on bond. During his pre-trial release, law enforcement officers utilizing a confidential informant, purchased hydrocodone pills while Atkins was on bond. Atkins was re-arrested by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for distributing approximately 600 hydrocodone pills. His pre-trial bond was revoked and Atkins was detained. Atkins was indicted for possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of hydrocodone pills, said Dunavant.

During Atkins’ change of plea hearing on Oct. 13, he admitted to being a member of the Cole drug conspiracy and admitted to distributing over 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, 3 ounces of cocaine, 100 pounds of marijuana and 600 hydrocodone pills.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 21 before Chief U.S. District Judge S. Thomas Anderson, where Atkins faces a sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Criminal enterprises that distribute harmful drugs into our rural communities can no longer hide. We are taking the fight to the drug trafficking organizations in order to dismantle them and remove them from our streets,” said Dunavant.

The case was investigated by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, Selmer Police Department, McNairy County Sheriff’s Department, Hardeman County Sheriff’s Department, Decatur County Sheriff’s Department, Lexington Police Department, Dyersburg Police Department, 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force and Jackson Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorney Jerry Kitchen and Assistant United States Attorney Hillary Parham are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

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