Two local drug task forces are reporting the sentencing of several major drug traffickers as a result of an ongoing federal investigation being conducted in Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina.
The overall federal investigation involves a large-scale drug trafficking group responsible for the importation and distribution of methamphetamines in and around the City of Galax, Carroll County, Grayson County, Wythe County, Pulaski County and the Town of Pulaski, according to a joint press release issued Monday by the Twin County Drug Task Force and the Claytor Lake Drug Task Force.
“The investigation has resulted in the indictment and prosecution of more than 46 people who have claimed responsibility for distribution of 1,800 pounds of methamphetamines since April 2014 in four counties (Carroll, Grayson, Pulaski and Wythe) and the City of Galax and Town of Pulaski,” the press release states. “The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected in the future.”
This case is being investigated by the Twin County Regional Drug Task Force, which is comprised of investigators from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Galax Police Department, Grayson County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police. The Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force is comprised of the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Pulaski Police Department, Dublin Police Department and the Virginia State Police. The investigation involves cooperative efforts among local law enforcement, state and federal prosecutors, state and federal probation officers and agencies located outside of Virginia.
“This investigation is an example of the collaborative efforts among numerous law enforcement agencies working towards a common goal – to eliminate and hold responsible those trafficking narcotics into our communities,” Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughan said. “We thank the investigators and prosecutors responsible for these arrests and court proceedings, and look forward to continuing to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe for our citizens.”
According to Gardner, among those who have been prosecuted so far include Tiburcio Aguilar of Galax to 84 months in prison, with 60 months of supervised probation upon release; Valerie Elise Barker to 58 months in prison with 36 months supervised probation; Vicky Louise Hunley of Cana to 73 months in prison and 36 months of supervised probation; Donald Franklin Snow, Jr. to 46 months in prison with 48 months supervised probation; Daniel Ramirez Hernandez of Galax to 67 months in prison with 48 months supervised probation; Christian Perez to 84 months in prison with 48 months of supervised probation; and Wendy Carol Cocke to 18 months in prison with 36 months of supervised probation.
Gardner said others arrested and pending sentencing as part of the task forces include Clarence Preston Worrell of Dugspur, Patrick Shane Baumgardner of Cana, Nancy Snyder of Laurel, Robert Gwynn of Cana, Ricky Roberts of Galax, Ashlei Robinson of Galax, Kenneth Dinsmore of Galax, Emma Najera of North Carolina and Louis Sanchez of Mount Airy, N.C.
“I am proud of the efforts of our investigators and deputies who have spent a lot of time and effort working these cases,” Gardner said. “Methamphetamines are not just a local problem, but a regional problem as well, and by working closely with other jurisdictions, those responsible for dealing meth in our area are on notice, we will continue to work tirelessly as long as there are dealers who want to take advantage of our citizens, our officers are willing to do what it takes to make cases against you.”