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October 17, 2021

Three Alex. defendants sentenced in multi-county Federal meth case

SBI and local investigators assist in probe, codenamed “Operation Dixie Crystal”

The N.C. State Bureau of investigation has been coordinating with local law enforcement agencies in nine northwestern counties and with the FBI since 2012 when Operation Dixie Crystal began to root out methamphetamine traffickers, according to an SBI release.

Of the 16 drug traffickers sentenced the week of June 5 in Statesville’s federal court, three of the defendants are from Taylorsville and 14 were cases that stem from the Dixie Crystal operation that has resulted in the indictment of more than 200 people on meth trafficking charges over the past five years.

SBI agents worked with law enforcement agencies in the Hickory area to gather enough evidence for federal prosecution of the 14 people convicted yesterday for selling and distributing methamphetamine.

“SBI agents worked diligently at all hours of the day and night to stop the distribution of this extremely addictive drug,” said Gerald Thomas, SBI’s assistant director for the western area. “[This] sentencing means many lives will be spared the ruinous effects of this dangerous drug.”

U.S. District Judge Richard L. Voorhees presided over the week’s proceedings and sentenced the traffickers to prison terms ranging from 21 months to 18 years.

SBI agents along with other law enforcement agencies, had seized more than 20 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, $500,000 in cash and dozens of firearms as evidence for these drug trafficking convictions.

Further information came from a U.S. Attorney’s Office release.

A total of 16 defendants were handed prison terms ranging from 21 months to 18 years for trafficking methamphetamine, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Judge Richard L. Voorhees presided over the court hearings, which began on Monday, June 5, 2017, and concluded June 7 with the sentencing of the last defendant.

U.S. Attorney Rose was joined in making the announcement by Nick Annan, Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Atlanta and the Carolinas; Audria C. Bridges, Special Agent in Charge of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s Western District Office; and Colonel Glenn McNiell of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol; Chief Thurman Whisnant of the Hickory Police Department; Sheriff Coy Reid of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Chris Bowman of the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office; Chief Damon D. Williams of the Mooresville Police Department; and Sheriff Darren Campbell of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.

The 16 defendants sentenced in U.S. District Court in Statesville are:

• Larry Chad Roberts, 39, of Taylorsville, was sentenced to 120 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-47)

• Troy Lynn Bell, 48, of Taylorsville, was sentenced to 108 months, followed by 4 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-66)

• Shana Elyse Teague, 28, of Taylorsville, was sentenced to 21 months, followed by 1 year of supervised release. (5:16-cr-13)

• Jerry Wayne Grant, 45, of Mooresville, was sentenced to 216 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-48)

• James Edward Russell, III, 38, of Hudson, was sentenced to 188 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-13)

• Teddy Dwane McGee, 41, of Hickory, was sentenced to 120 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-48)

• Richard Lee Knight, 41, of China Grove, was sentenced to 120 months, followed by 3 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-42)

• Jason Mathew Beasley, 36, of North Wilkesboro, was sentenced to 120 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-39)

• Davey Yang, 35, of Conover, was sentenced to 110 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:15-cr-73)

• Jamie Lee Grigg, 44, of Kings Mountain, was sentenced to 100 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-46)

• Steven Matthew Donaldson, 25, of Charlotte, was sentenced to 96 months, followed by 4 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-45)

• Josue Abraham Robles, 19, of Mexico, was sentenced to 86 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-62)

• Jesus Cristino-Perales, 26, of Mexico, was sentenced to 78 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:15-cr-73)

• Norberto Macedo, Jr., 23, of Charlotte, was sentenced to 78 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-55)

• Wendy Michelle Pennington, 39, of Hickory, was sentenced to 46 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-48)

• Ritchie Allen Shook, 38, of Granite Falls, was sentenced to 37 months, followed by 5 years of supervised release. (5:16-cr-58)

According to court records, the defendants were involved in drug trafficking organizations that have trafficked methamphetamine worth millions of dollars. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized more than 20 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, $500,000 in U.S. currency and other assets, and dozens of firearms.

The defendants were charged as part of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which, since 2015, has resulted in the prosecution of more than 165 individuals.
OCDETF is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

In making the announcement, U.S. Attorney Rose thanked all the law enforcement agencies for their investigative efforts. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is prosecuting the case.

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