ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

June 9, 2010

Timothy J. Heaphy, United States Attorney

Contact: Brian McGinn

(540) 857-2974

(540) 857-2179 (fax)

brian.mcginn@usdoj.gov

Grandmother Sentenced to 10 Years Imprisonment for Role as Leader of Oxycontin Distribution Conspiracy

ABINGDON, VIRGINIA — United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy announced today that Nancy Bell, 63, of Maynardsville, Tennessee was sentenced to ten years imprisonment in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Big Stone Gap following her pleas of guilty to numerous charges involving a conspiracy to distribute OxyContin in Lee County, Virginia that involved three generations of Bell’s family.

These charges, as well as charges against seven other defendants, resulted from a cooperative investigation by the Lee County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

When local, state and federal law enforcement comes together for a common purpose, good things happen, United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. In this case, officers from multiple departments worked together to eliminate a dangerous drug conspiracy. The defendants in this matter illegally obtained prescription drugs and sold those drugs for a significant profit. Their incarceration should serve as a strong warning to others who engage in this kind of illegal activity and profit from the addiction of others.

Bell had 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. She was sentenced to ten years imprisonment on each charge and the sentences were ordered to run concurrently. She was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to forfeit $1,776.00 in United States currency.

Seven other defendants were also sentenced in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Big Stone Gap based upon their pleas of guilty to numerous charges arising out of the conspiracy.

Bell’s daughter, Iris Gibson, 45, of Jonesville, Virginia, had 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. She was sentenced to six years imprisonment on each charge and the sentences were ordered to run concurrently. She was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release.

Gibson’s daughter, Misty Parker, 22, of Bristol, Virginia, had previously entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute OxyContin. She was sentenced to serve five years probation and four months of confinement in a community corrections center half-way house.

Tim Hopkins, 48, of Jonesville, Virginia, had previously entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute OxyContin. He was sentenced to one year and seven months imprisonment and five years of supervised release.

Joyce Hopkins, 45, of Jonesville, Virginia, had previously entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute OxyContin. She was sentenced to three years imprisonment and five years of supervised release.

Leslie Clasby, 34, of Jonesville, Virginia, had previously entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute OxyContin. She was sentenced to time served and five years supervised release.

Kim Smith, 29, of Pennington Gap, Virginia, had previously entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute OxyContin. She was sentenced to five years probation.

Tim Pace, 45, of Pennington Gap, Virginia, had previously entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute OxyContin. He was sentenced to five years probation.

According to evidence presented at the sentencing hearing and other hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Lee, between January 2004 and December 2009, Nancy Bell, a resident of Maynardsville, Tenn. traveled to Lee County, Virginia and utilized her daughter, Iris Gibson’s residence to distribute OxyContin to residents of Lee County, 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 the month and would stay for two or three days each trip and would bring OxyContin prescribed to her and others that she would then distribute to other members of the conspiracy.

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. Evidence at the sentencing hearing proved that the conspiracy was responsible for the distribution of more than 2,000 OxyContin pills in Lee County, VA, between 2004 and 2009.

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 prosecuted the case.

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