Skip to main content
Press Release

Leader And Members Of Methamphetamine Trafficking Ring Are Sentenced To Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Senior U.S. District Judge Graham C. Mullen sentenced to prison the leader and members of a methamphetamine trafficking ring on drug conspiracy charges, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Judge Mullen sentenced the defendants as follows:

  • The leader, Cheng “Cam” Yang, 34, of Claremont, N.C., was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release.
  • Cheng “Cam” Young’s brother, Peng Yang, 35, of Claremont, N.C, was sentenced to 156 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
  • Cheng “Cam” Yang’s younger brother, Nicholas Yang, 21, of Claremont, N.C., was sentenced to three years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
  • Cheng “Cam” Yang’s aunt, Susan Yang, 37, of Claremont, N.C., was ordered to serve 42 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
  • Cheng “Dawb” Yang, 38, of Morganton, N.C., who bears no familial relationship to Cheng “Cam” Yang, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and five years of supervised release. 
  • Austin Litchfield, 31, of Los Angeles, was ordered to serve 12 years in prison and five years of supervised release. 
  • Randy Martinez, 27, also of Los Angeles, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and three years of supervised release. 

In related cases, Cheng “Cam” Yang’s distributors were sentenced as follows:

  • Belden Watson, 59, of Rutherford College, N.C., was sentenced to 97 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
  • Rex Eversole, 30, of Morganton, was sentenced to 110 months in prison and five years of supervised release; and
  • Ashley Vaught, 30, of Lenoir, N.C., was sentenced to 30 months in prison and two years of supervised release.

According to filed court documents and statements made in court, from March 2019 to September 2019, Cheng “Cam” Yang led a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy operating in Caldwell County and elsewhere. Litchfield, assisted by Martinez, was Cheng “Cam” Yang’s California-based source of supply of methamphetamine. Yang distributed the methamphetamine in Caldwell County assisted by his local drug network of distributors. According to court records, over the course of the conspiracy, Cheng “Cam” Yang and his co-defendants distributed more than 45 kilograms of high-purity methamphetamine, with a street value of over $4 million.
During the arrests of the defendants on September 10, 2019, law enforcement seized three and a half kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and seven firearms from the defendants’ homes.
The defendants were prosecuted as part of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation dubbed “Dixie Crystal.” Since 2015, the investigation has led to the prosecution of more than 200 individuals, and the seizure of more than 100 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, $1,000,000 in U.S. currency and other assets, and dozens of firearms. 
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.

In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the following agencies for their investigative efforts which led to the prosecution of this case: ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Charlotte; the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Charlotte Field Office; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Charlotte; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives in Charlotte; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office; the Burke County Sheriff’s Office; the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office; the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office; the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office; the Hickory Police Department; the Mooresville Police Department; the Newton Police Department; the Longview Police Department; the Huntersville Police Department; the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department; and the Morganton Department of Public Safety.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, is prosecuting the case.                           

Updated August 28, 2020

Drug Trafficking