Jerry Allen LeQuire, a Blount County man who has spent the last 30 years in federal prison on drug smuggling charges, died Thursday at the age of 70 at the Butner Federal Corrections Institution in Butner, N.C.
LeQuire initially received a 60-year sentence for smuggling drugs and running a cocaine enterprise starting in the early 1980s. He is said to have funneled 33 tons of Colombian cocaine into this country through Florida.
A Maryville man, Dick Biggs, was working on a book about LeQuire’s dealings with the Medellin Cartel. A story appeared in the July 12, 2013, Daily Times, chronicling LeQuire’s life of crime.
He was convicted in the U.S. District Court for Middle District of Alabama of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICCO) on drug conspiracy charges.
He had been housed at maximum security facilities in Atlanta, Pine Knot, Ky. and Forrest City, Ark., before being transferred to North Carolina a few weeks ago.
Biggs had remained in contact with LeQuire over the last couple of years and said he went to see him in early April. LeQuire, Biggs said, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about six weeks ago and was moved to the federal prison in North Carolina where he could be treated.
Biggs said LeQuire’s daughter went to see him before he died. LeQuire was to be cremated.
LeQuire graduated from Everett High School in 1956.
According to Biggs, LeQuire was scheduled to go before a parole board in July.