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Former Carson-Newman athletes plead guilty to drug charges

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Two former Carson-Newman College athletes could receive up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine after they pled guilty to federal drug charges.

Heath Labronce Hawkins, 22, and Jamey Lynn Upton, 22, sold cocaine over a three-year period in their hometown of Sweetwater, Tenn., a small community south of Knoxville. A 1998 drug transaction monitored by the Drug Enforcement Administration led to their arrests.

A federal judge unsealed their plea agreement papers Dec. 15, the day after a third man involved, Sterling Davis, 24, of Madisonville, Tenn., pleaded guilty.

All three men are scheduled to be sentenced early next year.

A spokesperson for Carson-Newman College said Hawkins and Upton were suspended from the school following their arrests.

Hawkins was a record-setting running back for the football team from 1996 through the NCAA Division II national championship game on Dec. 12, 1998.

Upton played on the men’s basketball team as a forward from 1997 until his arrest in 1998.

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  • Todd Starnes