21 Jun

For two years, the feds claim to have been watching a group of people accused of drug trafficking in and around the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Western North Carolina. In total, seven people have been charged with federal drug trafficking and each faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each drug charge, according to a recently unsealed federal indictment.

Six of the seven accused of federal drug trafficking have been already been arrested. One is still at large. All are charged with conspiracy possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, cocaine, marijuana and alprazolam. Some of the individuals face additional drug charges as well.

Federal investigators seized close to $50,000 in cash in the investigation and seek forfeiture of the money along with 44 weapons, two Harley Davidson motorcycles and three other vehicles.

The alleged drug trafficking conspiracy spans five years – from January 2007 to December 2012. The arrests and indictment comes after a two-year investigation by local, state, tribal and federal authorities.

A federal grand jury convened in Asheville returned an indictment against the seven facing drug conspiracy charges at the beginning of June. The indictment remained under seal until arrests were made of six of the seven defendants.

In addition to the federal drug charges, at least 25 people were caught up in the investigation and now face either tribal drug charges or state drug charges.

Source: Citizen-Times, “7 indicted in WNC drug conspiracy,” June 19, 2013