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30 From Area Netted in Federal Meth & Guns Ring; Reward Offered for Trade TN Man PDF Print
Written by DOJ Press Release   
Thursday, 11 July 2013 14:35

Thirty  men  and  women  have  been  charged  to  date  with methamphetamine  trafficking  and  firearms  offenses  as  a  result  of  Operation  “Dixie  Crystal,” announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  To date, 17 defendants have pleaded guilty to the charges. Operation  “Dixie  Crystal”  is  a  joint  drug  task  force  operation  which  began  in  2012,targeting  significant  methamphetamine  traffickers  in  Ashe,  Allegheny,  Caldwell,  Watauga, Wilkes Counties, and Johnson County in Tennessee.
“The success of this investigation speaks of the continued dedication of  our  local,  state and  federal  law  enforcement  partners  in  targeting  and  dismantling  meth  distribution  rings  that
profit  by  spreading  their  poison  in  our  communities.   Strong  partnerships  such  as  this  one underscore  the power of our  combined  forces and demonstrate our collective impact on the war
against meth,” said U.S. Attorney Tompkins. According  to  filed  court  documents  and  court  proceedings,  beginning  in  2003  and
continuing  to  the  present,  the  co-conspirators  have  sold  more  than  200  pounds  of methamphetamine,  with  a  street  value  of  more  than  $4,000,000.   Over  the  course  of  the investigation,  law  enforcement  seized  approximately  30  firearms,  five  vehicles,  20  pounds  of methamphetamine, and $150,000 in U.S. currency.
Federal  criminal  indictments  unsealed  today  in  U.S.  District  Court  have  charged  the following 10 defendants with federal drug charges and related offenses:
1.  Larry Mitchell Snyder,  59, of  Trade,  Tenn., is charged with  a  drug trafficking charge  that carries  a mandatory minimum sentence of  10  years to life.  He  was indicted by a  federal grand jury on  June 18, 2013.  Snyder  is currently a fugitive in  the  case  and  a  warrant  for  his  arrest  remains  outstanding. A reward is available for information leading to Snyder’s arrest. Tips can be called in to  1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423).  All  tipsters  will remain
anonymous.
2.  Earl Butler Potter,  55, of  Todd, N.C.,  is charged with  a  drug trafficking  offense that carries  a mandatory minimum sentence of  10  years to life  in prison.  He has been in custody since his arrest on  July 11, 2012. He  was indicted by a  federal grand jury on June 18, 2013.
3.  Stephanie Lynn Shatley, 31, of  Lansing, N.C., is charged with  a drug trafficking offense  that  carries  a mandatory minimum sentence of  10  years to life  in prison. Shatley was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 18, 2013.  She is currently in state custody.
4.  Jared William Pardue, 33, of Zionville, N.C.,  is charged with  a drug trafficking offense  that carries  a mandatory minimum sentence of  10  years to life  in prison. Pardue  was indicted by  a  federal grand jury on  June 18, 2013.  He  has been in federal custody on June 25, 2013.
5.  Tawana  M.  Sparks,  31,  of  Hudson,  N.C.,  is  charged  with  a  drug  trafficking offense  that carries  a mandatory minimum sentence of  10  years to life  in prison. She was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 18, 2013 and has been in federal
custody since July 11, 2013.
6.  Courtney Wayne Patterson,  28, of  Todd, is charged with drug trafficking and firearms offenses that carry a mandatory minimum sentence of  15 years to life  in prison.  He has been in custody since his arrest on July 11, 2012, and was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 18, 2013.
7.  Deborah  Phillips  Lewis,  36,  of  Todd,  is  charged  with  drug  trafficking  and firearms offenses  which  carry a mandatory minimum sentence of  15 years to lifein  prison.   She  has  been  in  custody  since  her  arrest  on  July  11,  2012,  and  was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 18, 2013.
8.  James  Foy  Parsons,  45,  of  West  Jefferson,  N.C.,  is  charged  with  a  drug trafficking  offense that carries  a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life. He  has been in custody since his arrest on  July 11, 2012. He was  indicted by a federal grand jury on June 18, 2013.
9.  Tina  Ann  Wheeler  (a/k/a  Tina  Ann  Miller),  38,  of  Crumpler,  N.C.,  is  charged with a  drug trafficking  offense  that carries  a mandatory minimum sentence of  10 years to life  in prison.  She has been in custody since her  arrest on  July 11, 2012. She was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 18, 2013.
10. Ricky  Allen  Latham,  32,  of  Creston,  N.C.,  is  charged  with  a  drug  trafficking offense  that  carries  a mandatory minimum sentence of  10  years to life  in prison. He  was  indicted  by  a  federal  grand  jury  on  June  18,  2013,  and  is  not  yet  in
custody.
Three additional defendants facing federal drug charges are currently scheduled for trial:
Mauricio “Mario” Baltazar,  20, of  Lake City, Ga.,  is charged with four counts of  drug  trafficking  and  firearms  offenses  that  carry  a  mandatory  minimum sentence of 40 years to life in prison.  Baltazar has been in custody since his arrest on April 23, 2013, and was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 22, 2013. His trial is set for July 2013.
Kenneth  Herman  Bennett,  50,  of  West  Jefferson,  is  charged  with  a  drug trafficking  offense  that carries  a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years to lifein  prison.   He  has  been  in  custody  since  his  arrest  on  April  20,  2013.   He  was indicted by a  federal grand jury on May 22, 2013. Bannett’s trial is set for  July 2013.
Martin  Martinez  Saldana,  43,  of  West  Jefferson,  is  charged  with  drug trafficking and firearms offenses that carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.  Saldana has been in custody since his arrest and indictment on December 13, 2012, and has a September 2013 trial date.The following 17 defendants have entered guilty pleas and are awaiting sentencing:
1.  Jason Michael Benfield, 33, of Laurel Springs, N.C.,  pleaded guilty on  June  6, 2013,  to drug trafficking and firearm offenses that carry a mandatory minimum sentence  of  15  years  to  life  in  prison.   Benfield  has  been  in  custody  since  his arrest on March 22, 2013.
2.  Ernest Monroe Parlier, Jr., 28, of Crumpler, pleaded guilty on May 16, 2013, to drug trafficking and firearm offenses that carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life  in prison.  Parlier  has been in custody since his arrest on  March 21, 2013.
3.  Jeremy Keith Nunnenkamp, 40, of  North Wilkesboro, N.C.,  pleaded guilty on June  5,  2013,  to  a  drug  trafficking  charge  that  carries  a  mandatory  minimum sentence of 10  years to life  in prison.  He has been in custody since his arrest on April 20, 2013.
4.  Jeffrey Dale Watson, 41, of Fleetwood, N.C., has agreed to plead guilty to a drug trafficking  charge  that carries  a  mandatory minimum sentence of 10  years to lifein prison.  Watson has been released on bond.  A plea hearing date has  not been set yet.
5.  James Thomas Hawkins, 39, of Laurel Springs,  N.C., has agreed to plead guilty to a  drug trafficking  charge  which  carries  a  mandatory minimum sentence of  10 years to life  in prison.  Hawkins has been released on bond since April 23, 2013.A plea hearing date has not been set yet.
6.  Chad Morgan Yates, 38, of Chattahoochee Hills, Ga., pleaded guilty on May  17, 2013,  to  a  drug trafficking charge  which  carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison. He is currently in federal custody.
7.  Christy Lee Latham, 36, of Warrensville, N.C., pleaded guilty on June 19, 2013,to  a  drug  trafficking  charge  that  carries  a  mandatory  minimum  sentence  of  10 years to life in prison.  She has been in custody since entry of her guilty plea.
8.  Melanie  Virginia  Osley,  37,  of  Chattahoochie  Hills,  Tenn.,  pleaded  guilty  on June  11,  2013,  to  a  drug  trafficking  charge  that  carries  a  mandatory  minimum sentence of 10 years to life  in prison.  Osley  has been in custody  on the  federal charges since her arrest on March 21, 2013.
9.  Luis Enrique Garcia, 46, of Mexico, pleaded guilty on  February 4, 2013, to drug trafficking charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to lifein prison.  Garcia  has been in custody since his arrest on the  federal  charges on December 20, 2012.
10. Jose  Francisco  Jimenez  Pina,  46,  of  Mexico,  pleaded  guilty  on  February  20, 2013,  to  a  drug trafficking charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life  in prison. He has been in custody since his arrest on the  federal charges on December 13, 2012.
11. Jose  Humberto  Jimenez  Pina,  25,  of  Mexico,  pleaded  guilty  on  February  20, 2013,  to  a  drug trafficking charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life  in prison. He has been in custody since his arrest on the  federal charges on December 13, 2012.
12. Bobby  Giles  Shore,  59,  of  Lansing,  pleaded  guilty  on  February  22,  2013,  to  a drug trafficking charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison.  Shore has been in custody since his arrest on the federal charges on December 13, 2012.
13. Danny Eller,  53, of  West  Jefferson,  pleaded guilty on  April 16, 2013,  to  a  drug trafficking charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in  prison.   Eller  has  been  in  custody  since  his  arrest  on  the  federal  charges  on December 13, 2012.
14.  Cristie Aldridge Dollar,  45, of  Foscoe, N.C.,  pleaded guilty on April 3, 2013,  to a  drug trafficking charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life  in prison.  She  has been in custody since her  arrest on the  federal charges on December 19, 2012.
15. Pamela Ann Corum,  31, of  Zionville,  pleaded guilty on  February 13, 2013,  to  a drug trafficking charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life  in prison.  She  has been in custody since her  arrest on the  federal charges on December 19, 2012.
16. Tammy  Wynette  Woody,  43,  of  West  Jefferson,  pleaded  guilty  on  May  15, 2013,  to a bill of information  charging  her with  a single  drug trafficking  offense which  carries  a  mandatory  minimum  sentence  of  5  years  to  40  years  in  prison. Woody has been in custody since her arrest on April 22, 2013.
17. Javier Sanchez Chavez,  32, of  Mexico, pleaded guilty on  March 21, 2013,  to  a charge of misprision of a felony, which  carries a  maximum sentence of 3 years  in prison.   He  has  been  in  custody  since  his  arrest  on  the  federal  charges  on December 20, 2012.
In  making  today’s  announcement,  U.S.  Attorney  Tompkins  recognized  the  following federal, state and local agencies  which  partnered in Operation Dixie Crystal, and thanked them for their continued cooperation and support:
Brock  D.  Nicholson,  Special  Agent  in  Charge  of  U.S.  Immigration  and  Customs Enforcement’s  (ICE)  Homeland  Security  Investigations  (HSI)  in  Georgia  and  the  Carolinas; Harry  S.  Sommers,  Special  Agent  in  Charge  of  the  Atlanta  Field  Division  of  the  Drug Enforcement  Administration  (DEA),  which  oversees  the  Charlotte  District  Office;  Wayne  L. Dixie,  Special  Agent  in  Charge  of  the  U.S.  Bureau  of  Alcohol,  Tobacco,  Firearms  and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division;  Greg McLeod, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NC SBI); Sheriff James Williams  of the  Ashe County  Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff  David  Edwards  of the  Allegheny  County  Sheriff’s Office; Chief Dana Crawford of the Boone Police Department; Sheriff Alan C. Jones of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Len  D.  Hagaman  of  the  Watauga  County  Sheriff’s  Office;  Sheriff  Chris  Shew  of  the  Wilkes County  Sheriff’s  Office;  and  Sheriff  Mike  Reece  of  the  Johnson  County  Sheriff’s  Office  in Tennessee.
The investigation is ongoing.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.

 

  
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