News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2010
Contact: Chuvalo J. Truesdell
PIO/AFD
Number: 404-893-7124

Buncombe County Drug Distribution Ring Totally Dismantled
Thirty Defendants Successfully Prosecuted in U.S. District Court

SEP 28 -- ASHEVILLE, NC – Thirty members of a crack cocaine distribution organization which operated in the Asheville/Buncombe County area from January 2008 until early 2009 have been successfully prosecuted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. In a series of six federal bills of indictment which were filed from February to July 2009, 31 members of a cocaine distribution ring were charged with felony drug counts in federal court. The last defendants who operated as part of the drug distribution conspiracy were sentenced today by the honorable Martin Reidinger in U.S. District Court in Asheville. Seven defendants have received prison terms of more than 15 years; sentences to date have ranged from 30 years in federal prison to two years of federal probation. A list of the defendants is provided later in this release.

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DEA Atlanta Field Division (AFD), said, “This criminal network posed a clear and present danger to the safety of the citizens in the Asheville/Buncombe County area of Western North Carolina. Their removal makes this area safer. These prosecutions illustrate that success can be achieved through the cooperative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement.”

U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins said, “This investigation and prosecution falls within two important categories for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. First, a significant drug distribution organization has been dismantled. That in itself is a success. Additionally, a measurable impact has been felt in the community because 30 drug distributors have been removed from the residential areas in which they were living and distributing drugs.”

“These prosecutions are a result of the dedication and expertise of all the agencies involved,” Asheville Police Chief Bill Hogan said. “This major success further strengthens our commitment to ridding our communities of the devastating effects of drugs.”

According to U.S. Attorney Tompkins, the charges and other information presented in court, all of the defendants are from Asheville/Buncombe County and the surrounding Western North Carolina area. The investigation, code-named “Operation Nuts and Bolts,” is part of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and was initiated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Federal Drug Task Force which is made up of representatives of North Carolina SBI, Asheville Police Department, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, and McDowell County Sheriff’s Office. As the investigation developed, a number of local law enforcement agencies provided substantial assistance, most specifically the Asheville Police Department.

The investigation ultimately identified the organization’s main leadership as well as its primary source of supply. According to information presented at the trial of Kenneth Lee Foster, 46, of Asheville, which took place in July 2009, Foster was receiving approximately four to five kilograms of cocaine a month from David Jiminez Marin, 32, of Candler, NC, Camillo Figueroa Leon, 30, of Weaverville, NC, and Anay Lopez Beltran, 25, of Woodfin, NC, during the life of the conspiracy. Trial testimony also revealed that Foster converted the cocaine into cocaine base, more commonly known as “crack” cocaine, for distribution to his personal customers. Trial testimony also showed that Foster’s customers would, in turn, further distribute the crack cocaine which they purchased from Foster. A total of 1.5 kilograms of crack cocaine and 2 kilograms of cocaine were seized during the investigation, according to official court documents. At trial, the jury found that Foster was responsible for more than 4.5 kilograms of cocaine base during the period of the conspiracy.

The federal charges contained in the bills of indictment included charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base (“crack” cocaine) and intentionally using a cell phone to carry out the drug conspiracy. According to official court records, approximately $80,000 in U.S. currency, one handgun, and 13 vehicles, valued at approximately $115,000, were seized as a result of the investigation. The entire organization was fully dismantled as a result of the investigation and ensuing federal prosecution, and no one remained who was able to regenerate the operation or resume any of the group’s drug-related operations.

In order to combat drug crime in America, the Justice Department’s OCDETF Program has focused all of its federal member agencies, including the DEA, the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, and U.S. Attorneys on the mission of disrupting and dismantling major drug distribution organizations. Since the beginning of the OCDETF Program in the early 1980's, the coordinated efforts of the Justice Department and its federal, foreign, state, and local counterparts have worked together to bring down drug distribution organizations all across the country. “Operation Nuts and Bolts,” a Western North Carolina operation, was led by the DEA. Also participating in the investigation were the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office and the State Highway Patrol. Alongside the federal and state task force agencies who participated in the investigation were the Brevard Police Department, the Marion Police Department, and the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office.

Each case was handled for the government by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill W. Rose, Chief, Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, Asheville Office.

Cases/Defendants List
US v. Anay Lopez Beltran, et al
Docket Number: 1:09cr13
Filed February 17, 2009

Anay Lopez Beltran, 25, of Woodfin, NC
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 62 months in federal prison

Lakeia Gari Briggs, 31, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 188 months in federal prison

Dennis Lamar Bruton, 32, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 262 months in federal prison

Leroy Deangelo Darity, 35, of Brevard, NC
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 188 months in federal prison

Reginald Lamond Fields, 34, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 168 months in federal prison

Shala Laronda Nicole Fisher, 22, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 30 months in federal prison

Doris Denise Foster, 48, of Asheville
Convicted by Federal Jury of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced Wednesday, September 22, 2010 to 292 months in federal prison

Kenneth Lee Foster, 46, of Asheville
Convicted by Federal Jury of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 360 months in federal prison

Yvonne Marie Fountain, 47, of Asheville
Convicted by Federal Jury of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 240 months in federal prison

Christopher Allen Harris, 29, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 168 months in federal prison

Michael Warren Johnson, 30, of Marion, NC
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 168 months in federal prison

Camilo Figueroa Leon, 30, of Weaverville, NC
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 70 months in federal prison

Jose Villagrana Lopez
Charges Dismissed by Government

Sulema Villagrana Lopez, 25, of Black Mountain, NC
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 78 months in federal prison

Erin Marie Renison, 26, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 87 months in federal prison

US v. Dianna Maria Aleman, et al
Docket Number: 1:09cr16
Filed March 17, 2009

Dianna Maria Aleman, 25, of Candler, NC
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Using a Cell Phone to Promote Drug Distribution
Sentenced to 30 months in federal prison

David Jiminez Marin, 32, of Candler, NC
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 70 months in federal prison

US v. Bradford D’Vol Allen, et al
Docket Number: 1:09cr23
Filed April 7, 2009

Bradford D’Vol Allen, 32, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Using a Cell Phone to Promote Drug Distribution
Sentenced to 48 months in federal prison

Frank Eugene Caldwell, 61, of Morganton, NC
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Using a Cell Phone to Promote Drug Distribution
Sentenced to two years probation

Taurus Morenzo Cave, 35, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 120 months in federal prison

Troy Lamont Clement, 40, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 57 months in federal prison

Kenneth Lee Gardner, 46, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 120 months in federal prison

Phillip Eugene Hill, 37, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 210 months in federal prison

Richard Robinson, 31, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 84 months in federal prison

Virgil Antonio Langford, 33, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 75 months in federal prison

Grover Andrew Pritchard, Jr., 44, of Morganton, NC
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Using a Cell Phone to Promote Drug Distribution
Sentenced to 12 months in federal prison

Perry Roger Shippy, 51, of Asheville
Convicted by Federal Jury of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 120 months in federal prison

US v. Deangelo Marquis Whiteside
Docket Number: 1:09cr69
Filed July 22, 2009

Deangelo Marquis Whiteside, 27, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 210 months in federal prison

US v. Torrey Tederial Ervin, et al
Docket Number: 1:09cr70
Filed July 22, 2009

Torrey Tederial Ervin, 35, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced Thursday, September 23, 2101 to 188 months in federal prison

Toney Eugene Young, 28, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced Thursday, September 23, 2101 to 160 months in federal prison

US v. Shawntaine Lamar Lowman
Docket Number: 1:09cr71
Filed July 22, 2009

Shawntaine Lamar Lowman, 21, of Asheville
Pleaded Guilty to One Count of Drug Conspiracy
Sentenced to 57 months in federal prison

Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

DEA Atlanta’s SAC Benson encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.

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