CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced today that an ongoing multi-agency drug trafficking task force investigation has resulted in lengthy prison sentences for two methamphetamine traffickers.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced Ashley Dawn Walker, 33, of Lansing, N.C., to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Cody Ryan Oakes, 31, of Boone, N.C., was also sentenced to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Murray is joined in making today’s announcement by Vincent C. Pallozzi, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division; Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Charlotte; Robert Schurmeier, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; Sheriff B. Phil Howell of the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Len D. Hagaman, Jr. of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office; and Chief Dana Crawford of the Boone Police Department.
According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, from 2018 until July 2019, Walker was a member of a drug conspiracy trafficking methamphetamine in Ashe County. In addition to trafficking methamphetamine, Walker previously admitted that, on two occasions, she and her co-conspirators participated in drug-related robberies of competitor drug dealers. On December 17, 2019, Walker pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
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In Oakes’ case, court records show that Oakes conspired with Jared Pardue, who during the relevant time period was incarcerated in Georgia, to buy methamphetamine from Pardue’s supply source in Georgia. Oakes then transported the methamphetamine back to Western North Carolina and sold to it to local dealers. According to court records, from January 2019 to June 2019, Oakes trafficked approximately 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine from Georgia to Watauga County and elsewhere. Oakes pleaded guilty on November 5, 2019, to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Pardue has pleaded guilty to federal drug trafficking charges for his role in the conspiracy and is currently awaiting sentencing.
Both defendants are currently in federal custody. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The two defendants were prosecuted as part of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. According to court documents, since 2015, more than 200 individuals have been prosecuted, and more than 100 pounds of methamphetamine, $1,000,000 in cash, and 60 firearms have been seized, as a result of the investigation.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked all of the law enforcement agencies involved for their outstanding investigative work.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman is prosecuting both cases.