CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell handed down sentences of up to 15 years in prison to five defendants for their involvement in a methamphetamine trafficking ring, announced William T. Stetzer, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Judge Bell sentenced the defendants as follows:
William Jay Allen, Jr., 29, of Vilas, N.C. was sentenced to 180 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. Allen pleaded guilty to drug trafficking conspiracy and distribution methamphetamine.
Justin Kevin Anderson, 31, of Boone, N.C. was sentenced to 135 months in prison, followed by six years of supervised release. Anderson pleaded guilty to drug trafficking conspiracy and distribution methamphetamine.
Thomas Burns Shelley, III, 37, of Blowing Rock, N.C., was sentenced to 132 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Shelley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Jeffrey David Miller, of Sugar Grove, N.C., was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Miller pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine.
Danielle Denise Dieters Ward, 42, of Morganton, N.C., was sentenced to 36 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Ward pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
A sixth co-defendant, Timothy Wilson Critcher, 47, of Boone, N.C., is scheduled to be sentenced on December 7, 2021.
According to court documents and the sentencing hearing, from 2018 to 2020, Allen and his co-conspirators trafficked more than 12 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in Ashe and Watauga Counties, and elsewhere. Court documents show that Allen was the source of supply for the methamphetamine, and his co-defendants operated as couriers and sellers in the conspiracy.
All of the defendants are in currently custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and will be transferred to the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
This case is supported by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) as part of an ongoing investigation focusing on drug organizations trafficking large quantities of methamphetamine in Western North Carolina. To date, more than 200 individuals have been prosecuted, and law enforcement have seized more than 20 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, $500,000 in U.S. currency and other assets, and dozens of firearms.
OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
In making today’s announcement, Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer recognized the following federal, state and local agencies which partnered in this investigation, and thanked them for their continued cooperation and support: the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NC SBI); the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office; the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office; the Boone Police Department; and the Johnson County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee.
The prosecutions are being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.