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21 plead guilty to firearms charges, trafficking meth into Va., N.C.

The 21 defendants pleaded guilty to charges including distribution of methamphetamine and firearms possession in Southwest Virginia and North Carolina.

ABINGDON, Va. (WSET) -- 21 people have pleaded guilty to drug and firearms charges in Operation Rolling Thunder, an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and local law enforcement.

The 21 defendants pleaded guilty to charges including distribution of methamphetamine and firearms possession in Southwest Virginia and North Carolina.

According to evidence presented a numerous hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee, the 21 people involved in the drug trafficking organization were responsible for the transportation of large quantities of meth from North Carolina through Virginia.

Additionally, many of the members possessed and used firearms to further their drug trafficking activities, according to prosecturos.

The following defendants entered guilty pleas:

  • Amy Hoyt, 46, of Mt. Airy, North Carolina: Conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment; Possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment.
  • Grandy Nester, 33, of Pilot Mt., North Carolina: Conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment; Possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment.
  • Amber Bilyeu, a.k.a. “Rose”, 32, of Mt. Airy, North Carolina: Conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000.00 fine with a mandatory minimum term of ten years imprisonment.
  • Karen Hawks, 45, of Low Gap, North Carolina: Conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.
  • Walter “Butch” Sexton, 64, of Galax, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.
  • Brittany Cochran, 28, of Fries, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine - maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.00.
  • Timothy Bowman, 46, of Cana, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment; Possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment.
  • Annette Freeman, 32, of Cana, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.
  • Brad Hunley, 29, of Galax, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.
  • Shawanna Phipps, 37, of Independence, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $8,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.
  • Brian Graff, 33, of Independence, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $8,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.
  • Riley Alley, 26, of Cana, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine - maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.00
  • Calvin Jermaine Maxwell, 34, of Galax, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine - maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.00.
  • David Norman, 29, of Galax, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine - maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.00.
  • Jonathan Choate, 34, of Independence, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years imprisonment.
  • Kevin Humphries, 38, of Cana, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $8,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.
  • Jackie Christopher Parsons, 39, of Mouth of Wilson, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $8,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.
  • Jessilyn Jones, 26, of Independence, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine - maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.00.
  • Vickie Grose, 48, of Galax, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine - twenty years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.00.
  • Jerome Stacy Sawyer, 30, of Galax, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine - maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.00.
  • Travis Brian Anders, 35, of Sugar Grove, Virginia: Conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine - maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000.00, with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Surry County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Galax Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, United States Marshals Service, United States Secret Service.

Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee is prosecuting the case for the United States.

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