An investigation started last year by the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in the largest drug bust in the region’s history. A series of arrests has smashed a ring that allegedly dealt methamphetamine and cocaine in Ashe and Wilkes counties.
“We began this investigation in May 2007 in this county,” said Sheriff James Williams in an interview Friday. “As it extended beyond our borders, we worked in conjuction with federal, state and other local authorities. It has been an ongoing process with great results.”
On Friday afternoon, the office of U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced the indictment and arrest of eight individuals in the investigation. She also announced, “In conjunction with the various arrests, which took place in Wilkes and Ashe counties beginning around Feb. 1, 2008, approximately 23 pounds of methamphetamine, one kilogram of cocaine, two handguns and a rifle were seized by law enforcement.”
Neither Shappert nor Williams placed a value on the drugs seized. Based on published reports by law enforcement in other jurisdictions, it appears the street value of the drugs was in excess of $1.4 million. Williams told us that most of the meth was of the crystal variety, and that the cocaine was powder form.
The eight indicted on charges of conspiracy with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine and at least 500 grams of methamphetamine: