A federal grand jury has indicted a Murfreesboro pastor on nine counts of money laundering as part of an investigation into a large-scale, illegal drug operation in Middle Tennessee.
Michael Whitsey is accused of laundering $375,000 in cash that he received through the sale and distribution of narcotics, according to an indictment filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court of Middle Tennessee.
He is also facing one count of criminal conspiracy in connection with the case.
Whitsey is the pastor of Abundant Life Christian Center Ministries, located in the 800 block of West College Street in Murfreesboro.
Federal prosecutors allege Whitsey, as well as other suspects who are not named in the indictment, laundered drug money during a seven-month period in 2008 using multiple bank accounts.
As part of the indictment, federal authorities are requesting a U.S. District Court judge seize money and other assets connected to the conspiracy, including any applicable property purchased for the church in Rutherford County.
As of Friday, authorities had not arrested Whitsey on the charges. A court date to begin proceedings in the case will be determined once he is taken into federal custody and booked on the charges.
Burglary suspects target Best Buy
An investigation continues into whether the eight unidentified suspects who robbed Best Buy early Tuesday could be connected to a multistate crime ring that is targeting iPhone 5 retailers.
More than $100,000 worth of electronics, most of which were older-model Apple products, was stolen just after 6 a.m. from Best Buy at The Avenue Murfreesboro, located on Medical Center Parkway.
The suspects gained entry to the store by ramming a stolen vehicle through a rear garage bay entrance and using a sledge hammer to bust through an interior security door, according to a Murfreesboro Police Department incident report.
In less than five minutes, the well-organized group took numerous phones and tablet computers, as well as other small electronic devices.
Although police responded within moments of the security alarm activating, the suspects had already fled the scene in two other vehicles they allegedly stole just before the burglary.
Those vehicles were found with the engines still running and the doors wide open in the 2700 block of Rideout Lane near Interstate 24 less than 30 minutes after the burglary occurred, according to two related Police Department incident reports.
Although the group was caught on video surveillance, all were completely disguised, leaving police with few leads on the possible identity of the suspects.
Officials with the Police Department are urging anyone with information about this incident to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-893-7867.