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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

Friday, April 24, 2020

Federal Judge Sentences Methamphetamine Trafficker To 15 Years On Drug and Gun Charges

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., sentenced Lonnie Alton Henderson, 47, of Asheville, to 180 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for drug trafficking and firearm offenses, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Joining U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement are Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in North Carolina, and Sheriff Kevin Frye of the Avery County Sheriff’s Office.

On February 11, 2019, Henderson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. According to publicly filed court documents, on January 25, 2018, law enforcement with the North Carolina Highway Patrol and the Avery County Sheriff’s office conducted a traffic stop of Henderson’s vehicle in Avery County, North Carolina. Law enforcement recovered from inside the vehicle approximately 102 grams of methamphetamine and a Glock 42 .380 caliber handgun. As reflected in court documents, Henderson admitted he possessed the firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking offense. Henderson is currently in federal custody.

Henderson’s three co-defendants were previously sentenced by Judge Cogburn. Augustine Manuel Vega, 37, of San Bernardino, Calif. was sentenced to 102 months in prison and five years of supervised release; James Russell, 59, of San Bernardino, was sentenced to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release; and Robert Preston Clark, 35, of Asheville, was sentenced to 72 months in prison and four years of supervised release.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray commended HSI’s Henderson County Office and the Avery County Sheriff’s Office for handling the investigation, and thanked the North Carolina Highway Patrol for their invaluable assistance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Bradley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.   

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Updated April 24, 2020