Ashe County Sheriff B. Phil Howell today announced the arrest of 10 people, including one from Wilkes County, in connection with what he described as a “complex and far-reaching” Ashe-based methamphetamine trafficking network.
Howell said the investigation began in December 2018 as a joint effort of the Ashe Sheriff’s Office and State Bureau of Investigation, who later were joined by federal authorities and agencies in Wilkes and Watauga counties.
“Our narcotics detectives have dedicated an enormous amount of their time to this investigation over the past 11 months. While our endgame is to remove as many drugs as possible off the streets of Ashe County, we also want to ensure that we present our court system and the federal court system with a solid case that will provide the maximum sentence to keep these individuals off our streets,” said Howell.
Howell said seven of the 10 were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Charlotte on federal charges. The seven are Jefferson residents Michael Anthony Horton, Kellie Elizabeth Wolfe and Christopher Barry Walters; Lansing residents Drew Hastings Hoffman, Ashely Dawn Walker and Michael Gwyn Mash; and Michelle Ellison Sole of Warrensville. All seven are charged with conspiracy to traffic in 500 grams or more of meth. No ages were given in an Ashe Sheriff’s Office press release.
Horton, Hoffman, Walker, Wolfe, Walters and Mash are also charged with possession with intent to distribute over 500 grams of meth. Horton, Walters and Sole are also charged with possession with intent to distribute over 50 grams of meth.
Horton and Walker are charged with two counts and Hoffman, Wolfe, Walters and Sole with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Hoffman and Walker are also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Howell said Ivan Hansel Moore of Wilkesboro, Kelvin Chad Faw of Crumpler and Sandra Dawn Roop of Lansing face pending state charges of possession with intent to deliver meth, possession of meth, selling meth and delivering meth. He said Faw faces a pending state charge of conspiracy to traffic in more than 400 grams of meth and Roop faces a pending state charge of maintaining a dwelling for the sale of drugs.
The West Jefferson, Jefferson, North Wilkesboro, Wilkesboro and Boone police departments; Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives played a huge part in bringing the investigation closer to being finished, said Howell, adding that it was called “Horton Hears a Who.” It involved the removal of drugs, guns and drug money from Ashe County, he said.