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16 From Wilkes, 1 From Alleghany Indicted by Feds PDF Print
Written by DOJ Press Release   
Thursday, 11 July 2013 14:50

A criminal indictment charging 17  men and women with a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy and related charges  was unsealed in U.S. District Court  on  Wednesday,  July  10,  2013,  announced  Anne  M.  Tompkins, U.S.  Attorney for  the Western District of North Carolina. The federal indictment was returned by a grand jury sitting in Charlotte on June 19, 2013,  and was unsealed  following  arrests of  the named defendants by law enforcement on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. The  indictment  is  the  result  of  a  large-scale,  multi-year  joint  federal  and  state investigation targeting the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine in Western North Carolina.
U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making today’s announcement by 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  Chris  Shew  of  the  Wilkes  County  Sheriff’s  Office;  Chief Monroe  Wagoner  of  the  Elkin  Police  Department;  Sheriff  David  Edwards  of  the  Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office; and Chief Joe Rankin of the North Wilkesboro Police Department.
The  defendants  were  charged  with  conspiring  to  distribute,  possess  with  the  intent  to distribute,  and  manufacture  more  than  500  grams  of  methamphetamine  and  possession  of pseudoephedrine.  Those named in the indictment are:
  Stoney Shew, 32, of Wilkes County.
  Tony Lee Blevins, 45, of Wilkes County.
  Daniel Lee Foster, 36, of Wilkes County.
  Stephen Franklin Wood, 35, of Wilkes County.
  Brannon Allen McManus, 37, of Wilkes County.   
  Crystal Gail Gregory, 34, of Wilkes County.
  Chad Douglas Church, 36, of Wilkes County.
  Michael Combs, A/K/A MC Hammer, 43, of Wilkes County.
  Abby Wilmoth, A/K/A Abby Jones, 33, of Wilkes County.
  Stephen James Blankenship, 36, of Wilkes County.
  Larry Don Brown, 53, of Wilkes County.
  Misty Ann Fender, A/K/A Misty Fender Gilbreath, 31, of Alleghany County.
  Matthew Chad Lovette, 32, of Wilkes County.
  Brookelyn Michelle Miller, 21, of Wilkes County.
  Rikki Ann Osborne, 37, of Wilkes County.
  Tony Steven Steelman, 26, of Wilkes County.
  Frankie Wayne Blevins, 46, of Wilkes County.
All  defendants,  except  Shew,  are  also  charged  with  possession  of  materials  to  make methamphetamine.   Tony  Blevins,  Foster,  Wood,  Church,  Combs,  Wilmoth,  Blankenship, Brown,  Fender,  Lovette  and  Osborne  are  also  charged  with  maintaining  a  drug-involved premises.  Foster,  Osborne,  Blackenship,  Fender,  Miller,  and  Steelman  are  also  charged  with possession  of  firearms  in  furtherance  of  the  drug  conspiracy.   All  defendants  named  in  the indictment are in custody except McManus, who remains a fugitive. According  to  allegations  contained  in  the  indictment,  in  Wilkes  and  other  counties  in Western North Carolina,  between January of 2009 and June 18, 2013,  the defendants  conspired with each other to manufacture, possess, and distribute methamphetamine and, in furtherance of the same, possessed and  distributed  pseudoephedrine.  The indictment  also  lists other materials possessed  by  the  defendants  in  furtherance  of  their  scheme,  including,  but  not  limited  to, Coleman fuel, coffee filters, lithium batteries, and two-litre plastic bottles  used to manufacture methamphetamine.  According to court records and statements made in court,  law enforcement seized the items when they detected and shut down 15 different methamphetamine laboratories. Those arrested will remain in custody pending their detention hearings, which have been scheduled  for  Monday,  July  15,  2013.  The  methamphetamine  conspiracy  charge  carries  a mandatory  minimum  term  of  10  years  in  prison  and  a  maximum  of  life  in  prison  and  a  $10 million fine.  The possession of pseudoephedrine  charge carries a term of imprisonment up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The defendants charged with  maintaining a  drug-involved premises  face  a  potential  20  year  prison  term  and  a  $250,000  fine  for  each  count.   The defendants charged with possession of materials to make methamphetamine face a prison term of up to 20 years and a $250,000  fine for each count.  The defendants charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime face an additional, consecutive five-year prison term.
Including the defendants in this indictment, a total of 49 individuals have been prosecuted to  date  on  federal  charges  for  their  involvement  in  conspiracies  to  manufacture,  possess,  and distribute methamphetamine in Wilkes and other counties in Western North Carolina.  The charges contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they have been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  The investigation is ongoing.
U.S.  Attorney  Tompkins  thanked  all  of  the  law  enforcement  agencies  involved  in  this investigation  for  their  continued  cooperation  and  assistance.   The  case  i s  being  prosecuted  by Assistant United States Attorneys Ann Claire Phillips and Rebecca McNerney.


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