July 02, 2020
Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell
Phone Number: (571) 362-3517
Fourteen members of methamphetamine trafficking ring charged with drug conspiracy and related charges
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Fourteen members of a methamphetamine trafficking ring have been charged with federal drug conspiracy and related drug and firearms offenses, announced Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division and Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. The federal indictment was unsealed in court today.
Seven of those charged have been arrested by federal, state and local law enforcement, and the remaining seven defendants are currently incarcerated on unrelated charges. The arrests are the result of a multi-agency investigation targeting the trafficking of methamphetamine from Georgia into Western North Carolina.
“Methamphetamine poses a clear and present danger to the health and safety of communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Murphy. “Because of the unified effort of all law enforcement agencies involved and the subsequent prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, we have dismantled this alleged drug conspiracy, and these defendants will no longer be able to distribute this toxic drug that destroys lives and communities.”
“With methamphetamine trafficking on the rise, it is crucial that we continue to team up with our law enforcement counterparts to stem the flow of this dangerous drug, disrupt drug pipelines, and prosecute traffickers who plague our neighborhoods and imperil our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.
“The trafficking of methamphetamine into our country and its spread through our communities is a national crisis. Together, through our partnerships with the DEA and the United States Attorney’s Office, we are fighting this battle as a united front,” said Sheriff Donald G. Brown II, of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office.
According to allegations contained in the criminal indictment unsealed today in federal court, from 2018 through April 2019, the 14 defendants were involved in a drug conspiracy that trafficked and distributed methamphetamine in Catawba, Lincoln, Caldwell, and Alexander Counties and elsewhere in Western North Carolina. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized at least 23 firearms, and more than $250,000 in drug proceeds. The 14 defendants charged are:
-Thomas Dewayne Simmons, Jr., 34, of Snellville, Georgia.
-Ruth Marie Duggar, 36, of Claremont, N.C.
-Kimberly Deann Bumgarner, 55, of Claremont, N.C.
-Cynthia Roxanne Shook, 34, of Catawba, N.C.
-Lowell Thomas Messer, 32, of Sherrills Ford, N.C.
-Samantha Jean Taylor, 26, of Newton, N.C.
-Jason Keith Reichard, 38, of Newton, N.C.
-Aaron Douglas Goodson, 29, of Maiden, N.C. (in custody on state charges)
-Priscilla Chapman Lambert, 33, of Hickory, N.C. (in custody on state charges)
-Jonathan Corey Daniel, 31, currently incarcerated in the Georgia Department of Corrections.
-Tiffany Christmas Hirani, 33, currently incarcerated at the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center in Jonesboro, Georgia.
-James Kristoffer Cantley, 38, currently incarcerated at the Robert A. Deyton Detention Center in Lovejoy, Georgia.
-Brian Duane Martz, 40, currently incarcerated in the Georgia Department of Corrections.
-Michael James Notheisen, 34, currently incarcerated in the North Carolina Department of Corrections.
All 14 defendants are charged with conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, which carries a statutory minimum prison term of ten years and a maximum term of life in prison, and a $10 million fine. Some defendants face additional drug possession and distribution charges and/or related firearms offenses. (See chart below for a breakdown of federal charges and maximum penalties for each defendant).
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.
In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the following agencies for their investigative efforts which led to federal charges: the DEA in Charlotte, Asheville, and Atlanta; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; the North Carolina State Highway Patrol; the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office; the Newton Police Department; the Conover Police Department; the Maiden Police Department; the Hickory Police Department; the Longview Police Department; the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office; the Granite Falls Police Department; the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office; the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office; the Huntersville Police Department; the Cornelius Police Department; the Mint Hill Police Department; the Pineville Police Department; the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department; the Monroe Police Department; the Taylorsville Police Department; the Gaston County Police Department; the Georgia Highway Patrol; the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia; the Georgia Bureau of Investigation; the Georgia Department of Corrections; the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia; and the Commerce Police Department in Georgia.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hess, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, is prosecuting the case.
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.justhinktwice.com, www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com, www.campusdrugprevention.org and www.dea.gov. Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv.