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Press Release

Cherokee, N.C. Woman Sentenced To More Than Five Years In Prison In Connection With Oxycodone Distribution Ring

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins Western District Of North Carolina

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger today sentenced Taryn Krista Elizabeth Toineeta Rattler, 26, of Cherokee, N.C., to 70 months in prison on drug trafficking conspiracy charges, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Rattler was also ordered to serve three years under court supervision upon completion of her prison term.

U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making today’s announcement by John S. Comer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which oversees the North Carolina; Jason O’Neal, Deputy Associate Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Division of Drug Enforcement; Chief Ben Reed of the Cherokee Indian Police Department; Sheriff Curtis Cochran of the Swain County Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Mickey Anderson of the Graham County Sheriff’s Office; and Sheriff Jimmy Ashe of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

According to filed court documents and court proceedings, from January 2007 to December 2012, Rattler and her conspirators engaged in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics including Oxycodone, cocaine, marijuana and Alprazolam in Swain and Jackson Counties. At today’s sentencing hearing, Rattler was found to be accountable for trafficking 404,400 milligrams of Oxycodone over the course of the conspiracy, with a street value of $404,400. In September 2013, Rattler pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute a Schedule I controlled substance.

Three of Rattler’s conspirators have already have received prison sentences: Mark Allen Winstead was sentenced to 38 months; Timothy Leroy Rattler was sentenced to 18 months; and Jacob Hunter Rattler was sentenced to 15 months. Jackie Lee Rattler and Evan Thomas Norris, Jr. have also pleaded guilty and currently await sentencing.

In a separate case, Judge Reidinger also sentenced today Kandace Rhean Griffin to 70 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. According to court records, from March to October 2012, Griffin conspired with other individuals to distribute Oxycodone and other narcotics in Swain County. Griffin, 25, of Cherokee, pleaded guilty in September 2013 to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance.

All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole. U.S. Attorney Tompkins thanked all the law enforcement agencies involved in these investigations for their continued cooperation and assistance. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pritchard, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville.

Updated March 19, 2015