Watauga Sheriff’s Office Assists Meth Investigation That Lands 57 People in Prison for Combined 304 Years

Published Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 9:47 am

By Jesse Wood

Dec. 31, 2014. Deputies and the Special Operations Unit with the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office assisted in a multi-state meth investigation that landed 57 people in federal prison for a combined 304 years.

“I am so very pleased and proud when the hard work of [our] deputies and the WCSO Special Operations unit yields positive results, through months of cooperation with our federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies,” Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman said yesterday.

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Due to the possibility of encountering meth labs and the unpredictability of the individuals who cook/use meth the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Special Weapons and Tactics Team was utilized to serve a portion of the arrest warrants.

This investigation began in 2010 on Bill Jones Road in Washington County in Tennessee, and the last individual in this meth conspiracy case was sentenced earlier this month. More than 30 meth labs on more than 30 sites were found during this roundup, and all of those arrested were charged with manufacturing more than 50 grams of meth.

The operation spread into Western North Carolina and other parts of Eastern Tennessee such as Sulphur Springs, Telford, Limestone, Jonesborough, Johnson City, Elizabethton, Erwin and Unicoi County.

The 57 individuals were prosecuted in federal court in Greenville, Tenn., for this “methamphetamine manufacturing conspiracy [that involved] multiple cells, according to Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal.

Leading the operation include law enforcement investigators with Washington, Erwin and Unicoi counties and Washington County’s Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force Officer.

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If you find a one-pot meth lab or a chemical used in the manufacture of meth don’t touch it because a slight disturbance is sometimes all that is needed to cause a chemical reaction that could result in death or serious bodily injury.

Assisting in the investigations include First Judicial Drug Task Force, Carter County Sheriff’s Office, Elizabethton Police Department, Green County Sheriff’s Office, Johnson City Police Department, Kingsport Police Department, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Because many of the individuals involved crossed county and state lines during the making and distribution of meth, the cooperation between the numerous agencies was necessary in arresting, indicting, prosecuting and eventually sentencing the suspects.

The following list includes the individuals arrested, their original charges, and final sentences. To see mugshots, click here.

  • Anthony W Maupin, 39, 458 Cash Hollow Road, Johnson City, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Distribution of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine X2. Sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Cory T Maupin, 26, 201 Rich Hollow Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Distribution of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine X2, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine. Sentenced to 84 months in federal prison and 36 months on supervised release.
  • Gary G Richardson, 37, 660 Cherokee Mountain Road, Jonesborough, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Distribution of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Felicia A Hopson, 28, 210 Parsley Street #12, Unicoi, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 60 months on supervised release.
  • Randall L Sliger, 43, Headtown Road, Jonesborough, TN; Initial Charges: Distribution of 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • David Jay Yates, 50, 112 Robert Smith Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine. Sentenced to 115 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Brandon R Fender, 31, 130 McInturff Cemetary Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • David H Vestal, 36, 212 Creek Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 100 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Robert L Gillis, 41, 104 Cooper Lane, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and 60 months on supervised release.
  • Jason R Duncan, 36, 787 Bayless Road, Jonesborough, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 78 months in federal prison and 60 months on supervised release.
  • Mark A Gardner, 38, 137 Spring Brook Road, Unicoi, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Savannah J Williams, 21, 408 N. Mohawk Drive, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 6 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Christy N Clouse, 31, General Delivery, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 33 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Nathaniel J Effler, 25, 313 Lee Avenue, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine. Sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and 60 months on supervised release.
  • Timothy F Dunbar, 44, 900 Bumpass Cove Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 84 months in federal prison and 60 months on supervised release.
  • Sandy M Hodges, 45, 665 Princeton Road, Johnson City, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 54 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Kenneth D McCravey, 41, 533 Washington Street, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 36 months in federal prison and 36 months on supervised release.
  • Jeffery H Higgins, 44, 948 Spivey Mountain Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Distribution of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine. Sentenced to 52 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Brenda R English, 41, 112 Robert Smith Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Douglas G Gaskin, 54, 1435 Love Station Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine. Sentenced to 54 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Misty D Potter, 37, 296 Blaine White Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine. Sentenced to 66 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Timothy W Smith, 30, 940 N. Elm Avenue, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine. Sentenced to 92 months in federal prison and 60 months on supervised release.
  • Crystal D Williams, 41, 408 Mohawk Drive, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 90 months in federal prison and 60 months on supervised release.
  • Angelia M Robinson, 42, 24 Taylor Ridge Court, Johnson City, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 48 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Rachel M Edwards, 27, General Delivery, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 51 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Christy R McVay, 33, 514 Rock Creek Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Jason D Vestal, age 25, 616 Monroe Street, Erwin, TN ; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 84 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Joshua R Whitson, age 32, 107 Parsley Street, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 96 months in federal prison and 60 months on supervised release.
  • Carl “Daniel” Ray, age 35, 110 Jean Davis Lane, Unicoi, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Daniel R Hopson, age 32, 210 Parsley Street #12, Unicoi, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Joseph B Banner, age 36, 160 Masters Street, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Distribution of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine X2. Sentenced to 170 months in federal prison and 96 months on supervised release.
  • Jerry W “Merd” Howell, age 47, 120 Deadrick Street, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Brandon Beals, age 29, 800 Broyles Street #B4, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that would be used to manufacture a controlled substance. Sentenced to 120 months in federal prison and 36 months on supervised release.
  • Ray Charles “Charlie” English, age 22, 499 Hickory Hollow Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Samuel “Mack” Sanders III, age 37, 221 ½ Dry Creek Road, Jonesborough, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that would be used to manufacture a controlled substance, Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. Sentenced to 84 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Daniel “Scott” Smith, age 40, 112 Robert Smith Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that would be used to manufacture a controlled substance. Sentenced to 10 months in federal prison and 36 months on supervised release.
  • Clinton C Cooper, age 28, 1830 N. Main Street, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Spencer J Yates, age 37, 578 Old Embreeville Road, Jonesborough, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 33 months in federal prison and 36 months on supervised release.
  • Brian S Smith, age 41, 121 Scott Road, Johnson City, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Michael T Smith, age 39, 154 Creek Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that would be used to manufacture a controlled substance, Distribution of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Donnie L Hensley, age 41, 944 N. Main Street, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • David E Gardner, age 53, 1159 Mountainview Road, Erwin, TN; initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Robert C Bennett, age 36, 353 Spice Hollow Road, Johnson City, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that would be used to manufacture a controlled substance. Sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • George R Thomas, age 31, 419 Walnut Street, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that would be used to manufacture a controlled substance. Sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Timothy S Franklin, age 37, 454 Hickory Hollow Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 51 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Stacy G Black, age 44, 420 Walnut Street, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that would be used to manufacture a controlled substance X2. Sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Jarrod A Hicks, age 33, 135 Virgie Hicks Road, Unicoi, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that would be used to manufacture a controlled substance. Sentenced to 51 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Autumn M McKinney, age 28, 206 Gay Street, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 42 months in federal prison and 46 months on supervised release.
  •  Jeffrey R Casey, age 36, 136 M Coffey Lane, Jonesborough, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Distribution of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that would be used to manufacture a controlled substance X2. Sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Lisa C Effler, age 44, 620 Mill Creek Road, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and 36 months on supervised release.
  • Jason A Briggs, age 35, 4575 Old Asheville Highway, Flag Pond, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and 36 months on supervised release.
  • Darren L “Pooh” Hensley, age 29, 208 Williams Street, Erwin, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 75 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Richie J Barnett, age 49, 911 Massachusetts Avenue, Unicoi, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Manufacture of a quantity of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 135 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Ruth N Barnett, age 45, 911 Massachusetts Avenue, Unicoi, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Manufacture of a quantity of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 120 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Kyle A White, 35, 1201 E. 8th Avenue #4, Johnson City, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that would be used to manufacture a controlled substance, Manufacture of a quantity of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 114 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Dena V Dugger, 30, 105 Hamilton Street, Johnson City, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, and using methamphetamine. Sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and 48 months on supervised release.
  • Tara N Hill, 32, 169 Lovers Lane, Elizabethton, TN; Initial Charges: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and 36 months on supervised release.

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