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Newport Chop Shop Operator James Cortez Gets 50 Month Prison Sentence

Operating a chop shop and possessing stolen firearms brought a 50-month prison sentence for Jamie Lee Cortez. The 32-year-old man from Newport, Tennessee was sentenced this week by U.S. District Judge J. Ronnie Greer.

Cortez got other people to steal motor vehicles, and he then disassembled the vehicles at a garage located behind his home. He removed VINs, sold and transferred parts, and built vehicles from stolen parts that were sold and disposed of locally and to person outside the state of Tennessee.

When federal officers searched his home, they found three stolen Jeep Wranglers and evidence of VIN tampering. Officers also found stolen firearms at the residence.

At the time of the September 2009 searches, Cortez was already under indictment in Cocke County Criminal Court for offenses occurring in August 2007.

In addition to the 50 months' imprisonment, Cortez will also be required to serve three years of supervision after his release from prison, as well as pay $93,732.13 in restitution to victims.

Published August 3, 2011, 1:20 p.m.

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