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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Five Charged In Drug Conspiracy Operating In Mecklenburg County

Eleven Others Facing State Drug Charges

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – United States Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose announced today that five individuals are facing federal charges for their involvement in a heroin trafficking ring operating in Mecklenburg County.  A criminal indictment was returned on November 15, 2016, and was unsealed today in federal court, following the defendants’ arrests.  Eleven other members of the conspiracy are facing state drug charges. 

According to allegations contained in the criminal indictment, from on or about April 2015 to about November 2016, the defendants operated in a drug conspiracy responsible for trafficking heroin in Mecklenburg County and elsewhere. 

The five defendants named in the federal indictment are each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin.  They are:

  • Maggie Elizabeth Sanders, 36, of Concord, N.C. (arrested)
  • Kevin Tyler Bell, 24, of Concord (arrested)
  • Elyssa Breanne Shuford, 37, of Gastonia, N.C. (arrested)
  • Jamie Nicole McDaniel, 31, of Concord (arrested)
  • Joshua Dale Gregory, 28, of Concord (pending arrest)

In addition to the drug trafficking conspiracy charge, Kevin Bell and Jamie McDaniel are each charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin, and Elyssa Shuford is charged with two counts of possession with intent to distribute heroin.  Maggie Sanders is also charged with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Eleven others are facing state charges for their involvement in the drug conspiracy. They are: Kenneth Junior Bell, Silas Lamont Swain, Monica Bell, Jessica Marie James, Christopher Godwin, Sara Dianne Weaver, Charles Thomas Anderson, Jason Eugene Lavender, Michael Todd Lowe, James Dillard Proctor, and Timothy Kyle Bennett.

Over the course of the investigation law enforcement seized in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties more than ten kilograms of heroin and five firearms.  The drugs were shipped into the Western District of North Carolina from Mexico.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Rose said, “The arrests in this case are part of my office’s ongoing effort to combat heroin trafficking rings throughout our district.  As heroin is quickly becoming the number one cause of overdose related deaths, not just in Western North Carolina but throughout the country, law enforcement agencies continue to ramp up the fight against drug trafficking conspiracies operating in our communities.”

U.S. Attorney Rose thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Charlotte, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, the Concord Police Department, the Gastonia Police Department, the Huntersville Police Department, the Mint Hill Police Department, the Kannapolis Police Department, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office and the Wingate Police Department for their assistance in this case.

This prosecution is part of an extensive Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.  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 level drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

The federal defendants arrested today are currently in federal custody.  Their initial appearances were held in U.S. District Court before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer.

The charges contained in the indictments are allegations.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sanjeev Bhasker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is handling the prosecution.

 

Updated November 29, 2016