ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

April 6, 2010

Timothy J. Heaphy, United States Attorney

Contact: Brian McGinn

(540) 857-2974

(540) 857-2179 (fax)

brian.mcginn@usdoj.gov

Grandmother Pleads Guilty to Drug Distribution Conspiracy That Involved Daughter and Grand Daughter

Seven Others Have Previously Pleaded Guilty

ABINGDON, VIRGINIA — A cooperative investigation conducted by the Lee County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had led to guilty pleas of at least eight people in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

Nancy Bell, 64, of Maynardsville, Tennessee, pled guilty yesterday morning in U.S. District Court in Abingdon to charges involving drug distribution. Bell pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute OxyContin, three counts of distribution of OxyContin, one count of possession with the intent to distribute Oxycontin, and one count of maintaining a place for the distribution of controlled substances.

Bell’s daughter, Iris Gibson, 45, of Jonesville, Virginia, previously entered pleas of guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute OxyContin, three counts of distribution of OxyContin, one count of possession with the intent to distribute Oxycontin, and one count of maintaining a place for the distribution of controlled substances. Gibson’s daughter, Misty Parker, 23, of Bristol, Virginia, also previously entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute OxyContin. Other members of the conspiracy that have also previously entered pleas of guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute OxyContin, include: Tim Hopkins, 48, of Jonesville, Virginia, Joyce Hopkins, 45, of Jonesville, Virginia, Leslie Clasby, 34, of Jonesville, Virginia, Kim Smith, 29, of Pennington Gap, Virginia, and Tim Pace, 45, of Pennington Gap, Virginia.

According to evidence presented during today’s hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Lee, between January 2004 and December 2009, Nancy Bell, traveled to Lee County, Virginia and utilized her daughter, Iris Gibson’s residence to distribute OxyContin to residents of Lee County by utilizing both Gibson, and Gibson’s daughter, Misty Parker, as sub-distributors.

Furthermore, Bell and Gibson recruited Tim and Susan Hopkins, Leslie Clasby, Kim Smith and Tim Pace to distribute Oxycontin with the proceeds being returned to Bell. Bell typically traveled to Lee County on the first and fifteenth of every month and would stay for 2-3 days each trip. During the course of the investigation, the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and the ATF made controlled purchases of OxyContin from Bell and Gibson on three separate occasions. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on July 30, 2009, at Gibson’s residence and also arrested Bell and Gibson for charges related to the distribution of OxyContin. On that date, Bell was found to be in possession of approx. 15 Oxycontin 40mg. pills, 13 Endocet 10/650 mg. pills, and $1,776 in cash.

Bell and Gibson each face a potential maximum sentence of up to120 years imprisonment and up to $5,500,000 in fines. Susan Hopkins, Tim Hopkins, Pace, Clasby, Smith and Parker all face a potential maximum sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment and up to $1,000,000 in fines. The investigation of this case was conducted by the Lee County, Virginia Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the United States Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee of the United States Attorney’s Office in Abingdon is prosecuting the case.

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