Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jun 2006
Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)
Copyright: 2006 The Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.
Author: Bill Poovey, Associated Press
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


CHATTANOOGA -- A garden center owner convicted of selling iodine used 
to make methamphetamine in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama was 
sentenced to 30 years in prison by a judge who said he hopes the 
penalty shows such harmful greed has a high price.

Joseph Swafford was escorted from the courtroom after declining to 
comment at his Friday sentencing, which also included forfeiting his 
family business, Broadway Home and Garden Center, to the government.

Swafford's attorney had asked U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Collier 
for a 10-year sentence.

A jury in March convicted Swafford on all 40 counts of an indictment 
that charged him and his business with conspiring to aid illegal 
drug-making by selling iodine to customers who used it to make meth, 
an addictive stimulant.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Perry Piper said the three-year investigation 
included an agent warning Swafford that the iodine he was selling 
went to customers using it to make the drug in Tennessee, north 
Georgia and north Alabama.

Collier said the large scale of knowingly selling an ingredient for 
making the drug was unprecedented in East Tennessee.

He said evidence showed Swafford sold enough iodine -- more than 
2,500 gallons of liquid iodine and almost 3,000 pounds of iodine 
flakes and pellets -- to manufacture more than 400 kilograms of meth, 
enough to supply "every human being" in southeastern Tennessee and 
some counties in surrounding states.

Collier said the 30-year sentence would hopefully "deter those who 
might be tempted to make the same bad choice you made."
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