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Operation Dark Knight Nets 31 Arrests, Warrants for Drug Activity in Avery County

The Avery County Sheriff’s Office and Municipal Drug Task Force recently finalized a long investigation, Operation Dark Knight, which ended with 31 people being charged with varying amounts of drug activity in Avery County.

In the aftermath of the investigation, Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye took time to note budget cuts that will affect the ability to fight the drug problems in the county.

“We fight against drug activity each and every day to make our county safer and a better place to live. It is disheartening to learn we are planned to lose a drug officer because of the defunding of the Municipal/Sheriff Drug Task force as that money ($20,000) is planned to be removed by the commissioners trying to make budget cuts. This same position also does regular alcohol compliance checks working with our local ABC board,” Frye said.

“Every day we are making efforts to catch those who sell drugs and every day we are working to find ways to educate children about the dangers of drugs and we do this because drugs have a terrible effect on both the addict and the citizen who has things stolen by the addict to pay for the drugs. I hope the commissioners realize before the final adoption of the budget, this is a priority the citizens have continued to want addressed at every opportunity.”

Banner Elk Police Chief Byron Clawson added, “Drugs and drug-abuse has effects on everyone in Avery County. From domestic violence, to motor vehicle accidents, to breaking and entering of people’s houses; drugs can be traced back to these crimes. The safety of all citizens in Avery County should come first, and protecting them is the top priority of the task force. The Avery County Drug Task Force was set up to supplement the work being done by all law enforcement agencies in Avery County, so the other agencies could devote more time and resources investigating other types of crime. The task force officer is dedicated to help these agencies combat the drug related problems that affect us all.”

Of the 31 individuals charged, 13 have outstanding warrants and have yet to be arrested. See mug shots below:


  • Donald Andrews—-Sell and Delivery of Schedule III and Maintaing a Dwelling
  • Denise Jones—– Sell and Delivery of Schedule III and Maintaining a Dwelling
  • Bobby Johnson—–Conspire to Manufacture Methamphetamine and Possession of Precursor Chemicals
  • Ronnie Benfield—-Sell and Delivery of Marijuana and Maintaining a Vehicle
  • Aaron Snoody—-Sell and Delivery of Schedule II
  • Beth Langford—–Conspire to Sell and Deliver Schedule II
  • Christy Crowder—–Sell and Deliver Schedule II, Maintaining a Dwelling
  • Beverly Harmon—–Sell and Deliver Schedule II, Trafficking in Opiates and Maintaining a Dwelling
  • Robert Bug Johnson—– Trafficking in Opiates, Sell and Deliver Schedule II
  • Kandi Hubbard—-Sell and Deliver Schedule III
  • Sarah Wright—-Sell and Deliver Schedule IV
  • Ronnie Norwood—–Manufacture Marijuana and Maintaining a Dwelling
  • Randy Walters—–Manufacture Marijuana and Maintaining a Dwelling
  • Crystal Henry——Manufacture Methamphetamine and Possession of Precursors
  • Aaron Daniels—-Sell and Delivery of Methamphetamine X2
  • Sharon Kelly—- Trafficking Opiates, Sell/Deliver Schedule II, Sell/Deliver Cocaine, Maintain a Vehicle, Maintain a Vehicle, Conspire to Sell
  • Bill Simpson—— Trafficking Cocaine, Sell/Deliver Cocaine, Conspire to Sell or Deliver
  • Craig Perkins —— Possession of Meth, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia


Outstanding Warrants

Amber Moore —–Conspire to Trafficking Cocaine, Conspire to Sell Cocaine,                                                        Sell/Deliver Cocaine, Sell/Deliver Marijuana


Amber Lee ——Conspire to Sell/Deliver Cocaine


Caleb Lyons ——Sell/Deliver Schedule III, Maintain a Dwelling for Controlled                                                      Substance, Sell/Deliver Marijuana, Maintain a Dwelling for                                              Controlled Substance


Michael English—–Conspire to Sell/Deliver Sch II


Linda Riddle——-Conspire to Trafficking in Cocaine, Conspire to Sell/Deliver Cocaine


Audra Masters ——Sell/Deliver Schedule III, Maintain a Dwelling for Controlled                                                  Substance


Melissa Bishop —-Obtain Controlled Substances by Fraud


Stevie Moody ——-Obtain Controlled Substances by Fraud


Quint Kiser —            -Sell/Deliver Methamphetamine


James Hampshire —–Conspire to Sell/Deliver Methamphetamine, Conspire to                                                     Sell/Deliver Methamphetamine


Tammy Roberts ——–Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Sch IV


Patrick Rigsby ——-Sell/Deliver Marijuana, Felony Possession of Marijuana, Maintain                                        a Vehicle for Controlled Substance


Randy Benfield ——- -Manufacture Methamphetamine, Possession of Precursor                                                  Chemicals

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