Eleven Indicted In Western N.C. Drug Conspiracy
MAR 2 -- ASHEVILLE, NC. – A one-count federal indictment charging eleven defendants with conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of methamphetamine was filed in U.S. District Court in Asheville, North Carolina on February 6, 2007. The indictment alleges that the methamphetamine conspiracy transpired from around January 2002 to February 2007, and was carried out in Rutherford County, within the Western District of North Carolina. The indictment was announced by Gretchen C.F. Shappert, United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Ten of the eleven defendants were arrested during the morning of Tuesday, February 27, 2007. The defendants reside in the Rutherford, Polk, and Cleveland County areas of Western N.C. A list of the defendants and their current status is attached.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) North Carolina Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) John J. Emerson stated, "The local manufacture of methamphetamine is a scourge that endangers all of our North Carolina citizens. Drug abuse is not a victimless crime. When methamphetamine enters a home it leaves a path of misery and destruction in every direction; the addict suffers, the children in the home are neglected and suffer, the community is at risk due to the toxic chemicals producing fires, explosions and deaths. In response to this, DEA will continue to utilize all of its resources to target, arrest and prosecute those individuals involved in any stage of the manufacture and/or distribution of this devastating illegal drug."
U.S. Attorney Shappert said, “The U.S. Justice Department continues to lead initiatives aimed at addressing improved enforcement of Methamphetamine related crimes, as well as increased law enforcement training, improved information sharing, and increased public awareness regarding the illegal drug methamphetamine,”
Today’s announcement was made jointly by DEA ASAC Emerson, U.S. Attorney Shappert, and Sheriff Jack Connor of Rutherford County, North Carolina. The indictment is the result of a two-year ongoing investigation. The investigation was worked in several different North Carolina counties led by the DEA and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office. Substantial assistance in the arrests was provided by Forest City and Shelby Police Departments, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
If convicted, each of the defendants faces a maximum statutory sentence for the one count alleged in the indictment of not less than ten years nor more than life imprisonment, and/or a $4,000,000 fine and at least five years supervised release. If convicted, the defendants’ individual sentences will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to the case, including each defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, each defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. In the American justice system, a person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty in a court of law.
LIST OF DEFENDANTS
James Harland Arrowood,
Robert Wesley Cooper
Donna Marie Goossens
Stewart Lynn Oehler
Casey Maria Radford
Michael Joel Radford
Dana Ward Ruppe
William Alonzo Smith
The prosecution is being handled for the government by Assistant United States Attorney Jill W. Rose. Any questions concerning this matter should be directed to Suellen Pierce, United States Attorney’s Office at (704)338-3120, FAX (704)-227-0264
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