Unicoi County

Unicoi county man sentenced for gun, drug crimes

UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. - A Unicoi County man has been sentenced for selling drugs and firearms out of the market he operated.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Greeneville, Tennessee tells News 5, 55-year-old Billy Joe Rice was sentenced Thursday to more than three and a half years in federal prison.

Rice pleaded guilty in August 2012 to distributing meth and dealing guns without a license.  A three-year investigation revealed Rice was buying and selling guns, some of which were stolen, from a market he operated in the town of Unicoi.  Investigators say he did not have a federal firearms license.

Investigators also learned Rice was getting materials to make meth, as well as distributing meth.

After Rice is released from prison, he must also serve three years of supervised release.

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