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Justice News

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

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Final Defendant In Multi-State Drug Trafficking Organization Enters Guilty Plea

“Operation Saltvegas” Has Led To The Conviction Of Twenty-Eight Individuals For Distributing Methamphetamine In Southwest Virginia And Northeast Tennessee

ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – Acting United States Attorney Anthony P. Giorno announced today that William Hunt, Jr., 55, Abingdon, Virginia, entered a plea of guilty today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon.  Hunt pleaded guilty to one count of use of a communications facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.  Hunt’s guilty plea brings the total number of defendants found guilty to twenty-eight as a result of “Operation Saltvegas”, a multi-agency investigation into methamphetamine trafficking in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.
According to evidence presented at multiple hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee, the drug trafficking organization led by Richard Shaw, Mountain City, Tennessee, was a supplier of large quantities of methamphetamine to more than twenty-seven sub-distributors in both Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.   The drug trafficking organization was uncovered as part of a multi-agency investigation involving federal, state and local law enforcement in both Virginia and Tennessee.  As a result of the investigation twenty-eight individuals have pleaded guilty and agreed to forfeit more than $200,000.  To date, twenty-five individuals have been sentenced as a result of the investigation.  The defendants that have been sentenced are:

  1. Richard Shaw 59, Mountain City, TN – 210 months imprisonment
  2. Jeramiah Yates, 34, Vilas, NC – 37 months imprisonment
  3. Melvin Campbell, 45, Mountain City, TN – 7 months imprisonment
  4. Daniel Reece, 46, Mountain City, TN – 72 months imprisonment
  5. Linda Walters, 46, Mountain City, TN – 12 months and 1 day imprisonment
  6. Russell Wayne Cassell a/k/a “Rusty”, 44, Glade Spring, VA – 41 months imprisonment
  7. Kenneth Craig Buchanan a/k/a “Bubba”, 50, Glade Spring, VA – 24 months imprisonment
  8. Stephanie Patrick, 40, Glade Spring, VA – 24 months imprisonment
  9. Roger Lawson, 65, Glade Spring, VA – 46 months imprisonment
  10. Toby Mock, 44, Glade Spring, VA – 6 months imprisonment
  11. Rachel Peake, 44, Atkins, VA – 6 months imprisonment
  12. Jason Mullinax, 37, Chilhowie, VA – 36 months imprisonment
  13. Roger Austin, Jr. a/k/a “Fat Rog”, 52, Glade Spring, VA – 121 months imprisonment
  14. Angela Surber, 40, Chilhowie, VA – 37 months imprisonment
  15. Timothy Nickolas Rabara, 26, Marion, VA – 5 years probation
  16. Albert Hague, 56, Mountain City, TN – 30 months imprisonment
  17. Kimberly Ann Bradley, 44, Johnson City, TN – 12 months and 1 day imprisonment
  18. James Poore a/k/a “Danny”, 48, Glade Spring, VA – 18 months imprisonment
  19. Tony Delp, Glade Spring, VA – 6 months imprisonment
  20. Katherine Mitchell, 55, Saltville, VA – 78 months imprisonment
  21. Gary Lee Howell, 53, Saltville, VA – 121 months imprisonment
  22. Angeline Delp, 53, Saltville, VA – 6 months imprisonment
  23. Tony Delp, 63, Saltville, VA – 6 months imprisonment
  24. Angela Surber, 40, Glade Spring, VA – 37 months imprisonment
  25. Brandi Dunford, 34, Abingdon, VA – 60 months imprisonment

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Russell County Sheriff’s Office, Smyth County Sheriff’s Office, Abingdon Police Department, Virginia State Police, Johnson County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Marshals Service.  The Smyth County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and the Washington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office also assisted in the investigation and prosecution of this case.  Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee is prosecuting the case for the United States.

Updated April 14, 2015