More on the Meth Conviction

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

The U.S. Attorney's Office has arrested and convicted 24 people who were involved in a methamphetamine ring in the area. Investigators say those convicted were involved with two major organizations that had distributed more than 100 pounds of meth in Central Virginia.

The federal government says the ring covered from Waynesboro to Madison County. The convictions were the result of a two year investigation, which often heavily relied on local police work.

"On the surface, it appears to be a very local case that we can deal with here. That very quickly into the investigation, it turned out that it was going to involve multiple jurisdictions," says Sgt. Kelly Walker, Waynesboro Police Department.

He says they're no strangers to helping the federal government.

Walker says, "These cases are very manpower intensive. When they begin, you have to put in all of your resources, full time on the case."

U.S. Attorney John Brownlee says the meth ring was at least a $1 million operation and the convictions of two dozen meth dealers is significant in the fight against drugs.

He says, "We are very pleased that we were able find and prosecute these 24 but realize there are others out there and we are going to continue in our efforts to do these kinds of cases."

Brownlee says, in 2005, law enforcement used wire taps to successfully identify two major organizations that were distributing meth. Police also found out where they could send undercover agents to get the drugs.

"You take an operation like that, that has established itself out of the equation, and you're going to put a dent in your drug trade," says Walker.

Brownlee says the meth came from other countries like Mexico, but even though federal agents are on to the source of the drug, Walker says local police still have to keep their eyes open.

"Does that mean we're going to rest on our laurels? Absolutely not, because we know that there's someone waiting to fill that void," says Walker.

All 24 defendants received various sentences, ranging as high as seven years in a federal prison.

During the investigation, federal and local officials seized four pounds of meth valued at $150,000. They also netted more than $20,000 in cash, six vehicles, several guns, and one home worth more than $200,000.


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