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Justice News

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

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Federal Jury Finds Methamphetamine Trafficker Guilty

Defendant Possessed Handguns while Trafficking



STATESVILLE, N.C. B On Wednesday, July 8, 2015, a federal jury in sitting in Statesville, convicted Roger Dale Franklin, 54, of Lenoir, N.C., of nine charges, including conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by Ryan L. Spradlin, Acting Special Agent in Charge of ICE/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Georgia and the Carolinas, Caldwell County Sheriff Alan C. Jones, and Lenoir Police Chief Scott Brown.

Evidence presented at the two-day trial that ended yesterday established that, from 2007 to 2014, Franklin and his co-conspirators sold more than five kilograms of methamphetamine, which has a street value of more than $150,000.  In 2013, law enforcement officials in Lenoir and Caldwell County, as well as Morganton, stopped Franklin in vehicles on four occasions and seized methamphetamine from him, his vehicles, and his co-conspirators.  On two of those occasions, he was in possession of handguns.

This prosecution in Operation “Dixie Crystal” is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that has resulted in the conviction of more than 50 defendants on methamphetamine trafficking and firearms charges.  OCDETF is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

Franklin was indicted by a federal grand jury on December 16, 2014, which indictment was superseded on April 22, 2015.  He has been in federal since February 2, 2015, and was in state custody prior to that.  Franklin will remain in custody until his sentencing date, which has not yet been set.  He faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life, and a fine of up to $10,000,000.

The case was investigated by HSI in Charlotte, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, Lenoir Police Department, and Morganton Department of Public Safety.The prosecution of this OCDETF investigation is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman.

Updated July 9, 2015