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Press Release

Ten Charged For Drug Conspiracy Operating In Union County

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

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – United States Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose announced that 10 individuals are facing multiple federal drug charges for their involvement in a drug conspiracy operating in Union County.  Nine of the 10 charged are in custody.  A criminal indictment was returned on February 17, 2016, and was unsealed in federal court following today’s arrests.  

C.J. Hyman, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division; John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina; Sheriff Eddie Cathey of the Union County Sheriff’s Office; and Chief Bryan Gilliard of the Monroe Police Department join U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.

According to allegations contained in the criminal indictment, from on or about May 2003 to November 10, 2015, the defendants operated as a drug conspiracy responsible for trafficking at least 136 kilograms of cocaine and 53 kilograms of crack cocaine, primarily in and around Union County.During this morning’s round-up, law enforcement also recovered six handguns.

The 10 defendants named in the 67-count indictment are each charged with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and related drug offenses.  They are:

  • Ernest Cuevas Bivens, 34, of Waxhaw, N.C. (arrested today)

  • Robert Doneil Clyburn, Jr., 26, of Monroe, N.C. (arrested today)

  • Jeffrey Darrell Crowder, Jr., 29, of Wingate, N.C. (arrested today)

  • Ruthus Azam Ivey, 31, of Monroe. (arrested today)

  • Dario Kinta Richardson, 30, of Mineral Springs, N.C. (arrested on 2/22/16)

  • Quantravis Lavar Richardson, 28, of Monroe. (arrested today)

  • Reginald Donovan Richardson, 31, address unknown, (arrested today).

  • Adrian Lamar Sanders, 33, of Monroe. (previously in state custody)

  • Maurice Dupree Starnes, 36, of Monroe. (arrested today)

  • Eric Scott Truesdale, 45, address unknown. (not arrested yet)

(See chart below for federal charges and penalties for each defendant).

The arrests are the result of mutgny investitontargeted the trafficking of cocaine and crack cocaine in and around Union County ondutedy, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, and the Monroe Police Department, with the assistance of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and the North Carolina Division of Community Corrections.

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 Rose said, “This morning’s arrests are part of my office’s ongoing effort to combat drug trafficking throughout our district.The law enforcement agencies that participated in this OCDETF investigation joined forces to fight drug distribution and to put an end to the violence that comes with drug trafficking.”

“These individuals were the target of our joint investigation because they distributed large quantities of cocaine and crack in the Union County area.  ATF will continue to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to remove drug traffickers and their co-conspirators from our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Hyman.   

“These federal charges should send a clear message to drug traffickers in North Carolina.  The FBI and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate the damage that drugs do in our communities because some drug dealer wants to make a quick buck,” said FBI’s Special Agent in Charge Strong.   

“I am grateful for all the federal, state and local agencies that assisted in this investigation,” said Sheriff Cathey.“I want to assure the public that the Sheriff’s Office will continue to partner with other agencies to eradicate drug traffickers from Union County and to make our county a safer place to live.”

“This investigation was a great team effort and I credit all agencies involved for its successful outcome.  Everyone’s hard work and cooperation enabled us to conduct a thorough investigation across jurisdictional boundaries with outstanding results.  I would also like to remind citizens that anyone with information concerning drug activity is encouraged to contact anonymously the Monroe Police Department at 704-282-4700,” said Chief Gilliard.

The defendants will appear in federal court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Charlotte. The charges contained in the indictment are allegations.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

U.S. Attorney Rose thanked all the law enforcement agencies for their assistance in this ongoing investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Dillon of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is handling the prosecution.

Updated February 25, 2016