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Press Release

Two Charged in Operation California Dreamin’ Sentenced This Week

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Melissa Barrett and Matthew Mullins Both Previously Pleaded Guilty to Meth Trafficking

Abingdon, VIRGINIA – A pair of defendants charged as part of Operation California Dreamin’, a large-scale investigation that charged 28 individuals with trafficking methamphetamine from California into Southwest Virginia, Northeast Tennessee, and Georgia, were sentenced this week in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced today.

“The scourge of methamphetamine trafficking and addiction remains the most serious public-safety issue facing far Southwest Virginia,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today.  “We will continue to work closely with our federal, state, and local law partners to target and dismantle the drug-trafficking organizations responsible for importing this deadly substance from Mexico and selling it in our communities.” 

Today in District Court, Melissa Barrett, 46, of Meadowview, Va., was sentenced to 168 months’ incarceration. Barrett previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of distribution of methamphetamine.

Matthew Todd Mullins, 45, of Bristol, Va., was sentenced Monday, June 10, 2019 to 188 months’ incarceration. Mullins previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of distribution of methamphetamine, and one count of manufacture counterfeit obligations.

According to previously submitted court documents, in early 2017, an investigation was opened to examine the trafficking of methamphetamine between California and Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. Law enforcement identified 28 individuals, located in California, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee as being involved in the trafficking and distribution of methamphetamine.

In addition, the investigation further revealed that some alleged sources of supply from California temporarily relocated to the Bristol, Virginia and Tennessee region in order to better facilitate their drug distribution operations.

The investigation of the case is being conducted by the Abingdon Police Department, Virginia State Police, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Bristol, Tennessee Police Department, Bristol, Virginia Police Department, the Sullivan County, Tennessee Second Judicial Drug Task Force, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department, Commerce, Georgia Police Department, New Jersey State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.  The Washington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Bristol, Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, and the Sullivan County, District Attorney’s Office have assisted in the investigation.  Western District of Virginia Criminal Chief Zachary T. Lee and Assistant United States Attorney Cagle Juhan are prosecuting the case for the United States.

Updated June 11, 2019