'It's not just Amherst': Sheriff's Office works to combat meth problem
AMHERST Co., Va. (WSET) - Sheriff E.W. Viar says a meth trafficking investigation started with a traffic stop.
So far, 15 people have been arrested and charged in the two-year investigation.
According to Viar, the problem in Amherst County isn't making meth, it's distributing it.
"It's an epidemic," Viar said.
The 15 charged are:
- George Christopher Mays, 43, of Wingina, Virginia.
- David Campos-Luebano, 26, of Chatham, Virginia.
- Graciano Ochoa-Bermudez, 40, a citizen of Mexico
- Isabel Gonzalez, 56, of Concord, North Carolina.
- Irineo Perez-Aguirre, 42, a citizen of Mexico.
- Jeffrey Dean-Dickinson, 51, of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
- Lance Dereck Hicks, 28, of Lynchburg, Virginia.
- Jonathan Wayne Angus, 29, of Gladstone, Virginia.
- Timothy Edgar Bryant, 36, of Gladstone, Virginia.
- Edgar Estrada Ruiz, 33, of Burke, Virginia.
- Cynthia D. Baird, 33, of Earlysville, Virginia.
- John Bernard Goolsby, 45, of Shipman, Virginia.
- Wayne Thomas Burnley, 43, of Wingina, Virginia.
- Stephanie Hurst, 32, of Lewisburg, North Carolina
- Kenneth Cordova, 32, of North Carolina
Cpt. Eric Elliot says the sheriff's office is tackling the problem head-on to get the drugs off the streets.
Officials say this includes more traffic stops, using K-9s, and working closely with narcotics officers.
Elliot says he's only seen the drug problem in the area grow during his time as captain.
"It's not only in Amherst County, I want to emphasize that. It's in every county in this area," Sheriff Viar says.
Methamphetimine distribution charges could carry a sentence of up to 15 years.
The investigation is ongoing, and the sheriff's office is getting help from the DEA, Homeland Security, Virginia State Police, and many other local law enforcement agencies.