DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Virginia

For Immediate Release

Monday, June 18, 2018
Thomas T. Cullen
, United States Attorney
Contact: Brian McGinn

North Carolina Man Sentenced to 295 Months on Gun and Drug Conspiracy Charges

Multi-jurisdictional Investigation Dismantled Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization

ABingdon, VIRGINIA – United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced today that Grandy Nester, 33, of Pilot Mountain, N.C., was sentenced last week in the United States District Court in Abingdon as a result of Operation Rolling Thunder, an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and local law enforcement in Virginia and North Carolina. 

 

The collaborative law enforcement effort has resulted in twenty-two defendants entering guilty pleas related to the distribution of methamphetamine and firearms possession in Southwest Virginia and North Carolina.  Nester was sentenced to 295 months imprisonment last week. He previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and conspiracy to distribute 500 grams of methamphetamine.

 

“Operation Rolling Thunder has made the communities of Southwest Virginia safer by taking large amounts of methamphetamine off the streets and getting firearms out of the hands of drug dealers,” United States Attorney Cullen stated today. “I am grateful for the leadership of ATF on this important initiative, as well as the critical support of our state and local law-enforcement partners.” 

 

“ATF is dedicated to removing armed criminals from our streets.  We will continue to target criminals who illegally possess and use firearms as a tool of their drug trade,” ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge R. Shawn Morrow said today. “Operation Rolling Thunder is another great example of how ATF collaborates with state and local law enforcement and federal prosecutors to keep our communities safe.”

 

According to evidence presented at numerous hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee, Nester was a member of a drug trafficking organization responsible for the transportation of large quantities of methamphetamine from Greensboro, N.C. to be distributed in Galax, Va., Grayson County, Va., Carroll County, Va., and Surry County, N.C.  Additionally, many of the members of the organization possessed and used firearms to further their drug trafficking activities.  At the time of his arrest in June 2017, Nester was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and a firearm.  As a result of the investigation, the following defendants have been sentenced:

 

  1. Amy Hoyt, 46, of Mt. Airy, N.C., was sentenced to 228 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking.
  2. Amber Bilyeu, 32, of Mt. Airy, N.C., was sentenced to 252 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  3. Karen Hawks, 45, of Low Gap, N.C., was sentenced to 262 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  4. Walter “Butch” Sexton, 64, of Galax, Va., was sentenced to 87 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  5. Brittany Cochran, 28, of Fries, Va., was sentenced to 87 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
  6. Timothy Bowman, 46, of Cana, Va., was sentenced to 300 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
  7. Annette Freeman, 32, of Cana, Va., was sentenced to 235 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  8. Brad Hunley, 29, of Galax, Va., was sentenced to 134 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  9. Shawanna Phipps, 37, of Independence, Va., was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  10. Brian Graff, 33, of Independence, Va., was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  11. Riley Alley, 26, of Cana, Va., was sentenced to 52 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
  12. Calvin Jermaine Maxwell, 34, of Galax, Va., was sentenced to 188 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
  13. David Norman, 29, of Galax, Va., was sentenced to 57 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
  14. Jonathan Choate, 34, of Independence, Va., was sentenced to 240 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  15. Kevin Humphries, 38, of Cana, Va., was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  16. Jackie Christopher Parson, 39, of Mouth of Wilson, Va., was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  17. Jessilyn Jones, 26, of Independence, Va., was sentenced to 70 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
  18. Vickie Grose, 48, of Galax, Va., was sentenced to 51 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
  19. Stacey Jerome Sawyers, 30, of Galax, Va., was sentenced to 57 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
  20. Travis Brian Anders, 35, of Sugar Grove, Va., was sentenced to 158 months imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Surry County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Galax Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, United States Marshals Service, United States Secret Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee is prosecuting the case for the United States.

###

 

 

 

Field Division: Washington Field Division