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Press Release

Latest Phase of Large Ice Methamphetamine Prosecution Concludes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Conspirators Trafficked High-Quality Methamphetamine Fromthe Southwestern United States to Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee

ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – The latest phase of an investigation into a major ice methamphetamine conspiracy that distributed large amounts of the drug into Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee concluded yesterday in District Court with the sentencing of the final defendant, United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. announced today.

J.B. Buckner, 56, of Radford, Virginia, pled guilty in October 2015 to one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.  Yesterday in District Court, Buckner was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and ordered to forfeit $25,000. 

“The ice methamphetamine this conspiracy dealt in is dangerously addictive,” United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. said today. “These individuals ran a complex operation that brought drugs from Southwestern United States into Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.  These actions had a devastating effect on our community and, for that, these individuals have been justly held accountable.”

Buckner is the last of ten defendants convicted as a result of the latest phase of a long-running investigative operation headed by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which has been executed in multiple phases.  The operation has dismantled a methamphetamine distribution network which brought numerous pounds of “ice” methamphetamine into the area.    

According to evidence presented at yesterday’s sentencing hearing by Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin L. Jayne, this particular phase of the ice methamphetamine conspiracy operated in Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.  From approximately 2013–2014, individuals were receiving ice methamphetamine from sources of supply located in the Southwestern United States.  The individuals would typically transport this methamphetamine to Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee via interstate highways, coordinating among themselves to avoid law enforcement drug interdiction efforts along the way.  Return payment to the sources of supply would occur by hand-to-hand cash transactions or electronic money transactions.

Ultimately the District Court sentenced nine defendants in this phase to terms of imprisonment.  The District Court also ordered certain defendants to forfeit 25 illegal firearms, including assault-style rifles; $160,000 in proceeds from the crime and approximately 10 acres of real property in Abingdon, Virginia, which was used in commission of the crime. 

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Bristol Office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Bristol Office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Virginia State Police, the Sheriff’s Offices of Washington County, Russell County, Tazewell County, and Smyth County, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Offices of Russell County and Tazewell County and the police departments of Abingdon and Lebanon. Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin L. Jayne prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated April 19, 2016

Drug Trafficking