On Friday (8/19/2011) Chris Rowland was sentenced to federal prison by Judge Aleta Trauger in Nashville's U.S. District Court for Middle Tennessee. He was convicted for laundering over $300,000 of illicit drug money over a 4-year period of time. Punishment included Rowland forfeiting real estate along with $22,000 in cash that was confiscated from his Murfreesboro home on Warrior Drive during a September 20, 2007 raid.
The raid was in connection with a multi-agency investigation involving several counties. While federal, state and local officers were at Rowland's home, others were serving 22 search warrants across Middle Tennessee. More than 300 law enforcement officers from 60 agencies participated in the search warrants started the raids at daybreak. They had it wrapped-up and held a press confence in Nashville's Kefauver Federal Courthouse by 11:00 o'clock that morning. The indictment accuses the defendants of distributing marijuana and cocaine.
Court records show that Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold submitted a character letter on behalf of Rowland. When questioned by Assistant U.S. Attorney Harold McDonough, Rowland was initially evasive about connections with the sheriff. Judge Trauger then stepped-in and asked about financial contributions to Arnold's campaign. Rowland indicated that the $1,000 donation from from his family and not him directly, and that Sheriff Arnold may be related. The U.S. Attorney noted that the letter was brought up to learn why a sheriff would support a criminal defendant in a federal case. Arnold's letter shows the two have known each other for manyyears, and that the sheriff was clear that Rowland had made a mistake. It further states that he, "still stands by him and thinks he is a man of good integrity and high moral character."
Chris Rowland must serve 85 per cent of a 28-month sentence. He is scheduled to begin a term of approximately 2-years on October 16th. It is not known which federal prison will house Rowland, but his attorneys have requested Manchester, Kentucky.
The sentencing hearings for the two other defendants in this Murfreesboro case will be held later this month. Chris Rowland's business partner, Michael Bryan Krabousanos, appears in court August 26th. The sentencing hearing for Rowland's brother-in-law, Chad Smotherman, will be three days later.