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Nine Methamphetamine Traffickers Sentenced to Federal Prison

DEC 02 (STATESVILLE, N.C.) -Nine methamphetamine traffickers have been sentenced over a two-day period to prison terms ranging from one to 17.5 years, as a result of two related Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigations, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by Daniel R. Salter, the Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which oversees the Charlotte District Office and Nick Annan, Special Agent in Charge of ICE/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Atlanta and the Carolinas; Caldwell County Sheriff Alan C. Jones; Lenoir Police Chief Scott Brown; Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid; and Hickory Police Chief Tom R. Adkins.

The following defendants were sentenced on Monday, November 30, 2015:

· Justo Manuel Gonzalez, 29, of Newton, N.C. was sentenced to 210 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release (5:14-cr-59).

· Christopher Waylon Joyner, 31, of Sparta, N.C., was sentenced to 131 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release (5:15-cr-69).

· Christopher Everett Triplett, 35, of Hudson, N.C. was sentenced to 75 months in prison, followed by four years of supervised release (5:14-cr-50).

· Marixa Dawn Hart, 27, of Warrensville, N.C., was sentenced to 31 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release (5:15-cr-7).

· Paul Lewis King, Jr., 71, of North Wilkesboro, N.C. was sentenced to nine months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, nine of which in home detention (5:15-cr-34).

The following defendants were sentenced on Tuesday, December 1, 2015:

· Anthony Lee Day, 40, of Crumpler, N.C., was sentenced to 130 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release (5:15-cr-5). · Brian Len Ledford, 39, of Newton, N.C. was sentenced to 78 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release (5:15-cr-14).

· Miguel Angel Cerda-Rodriguez, 29, of Conover, N.C. was sentenced to 46 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release (5:14-cr-77).

· Rene Antonio Garcia, 54, of Hickory, N.C. was sentenced to time served (approximately one year) followed by four years of supervised release (5:14-cr-82). The two OCDETF investigations, codenamed “Dixie Crystal” and “Lay Low,” are being led by HSI and DEA, respectively, with the assistance of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, Lenoir Police Department, Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, and Hickory Police Department, and law enforcement agencies throughout North Carolina and Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee.

According to court documents, to date, more than 80 individuals have been convicted as a result of the two related investigations. Court records show that the drug trafficking organizations involved have trafficked methamphetamine worth millions of dollars. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized more than 10 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, $100,000 in U.S. currency and other assets, and numerous firearms.

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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is in charge of the prosecution.

The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.


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