Monday, December 22, 2008
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
Three Franklin County men have been indicted on federal charges related to conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, Elmer Otto Williams Jr., 44, Howard Wayne Clark, 45, and Samuel L. Mason, 49, are charged with one count each of distributing a substance containing a measurable amount of methamphetamine, according to U.S. Attorney Julia Dudley.
These charges are punishable by life imprisonment and/or a $5,000,000 fine, she said.
Williams and Clark are in custody, while Mason remains at large, according to Franklin County Sheriff Ewell Hunt.
Several Henry County residents and one Patrick County man were also indicted for conspiracy, including
"Jerry Wayne McNeill, 45, of Henry County, also charged with distribution of methamphetamine.
"Roy Elton Evans, 45, of Henry County, also charged with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
"Candace Lane Tew, 35, of Henry County, also charged with two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
"Todd Mason Clark, 23, of Patrick County, also charged with two counts of distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm while using a controlled substance.
"Ronnie Lee Lusk, 26, of Henry County, also charged with four counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
"Lloyd Stacy Adams, 42, of Henry County, also charged with one count of distribution of methamphetamine.
The charges are the result of a two-year investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force, which includes Franklin County Sheriff's Department Investigator Tim Brummitt, Hunt said.
During the execution of a variety of search warrants at multiple locations last week, law enforcement officials recovered more than 50 firearms and determined that members of the conspiracy were allegedly responsible for the distribution of more than 100 pounds of methamphetamine during the life of the conspiracy, Dudley said.
In Franklin County, investigators also recovered an estimated $40,000 worth of stolen property, including three all-terrain vehicles and a small farm tractor, Hunt said.
The investigation was conducted by the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, Patrick County Sheriff's Department, Henry County Sheriff's Department, DEA, Virginia State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Dudley said.
"Our job as a law enforcement community is to use every resource available to take these dangerous and illegal drugs, and the individuals who deal them, off our streets," Dudley said. "I am grateful to members of the Franklin County, Patrick County and Henry County sheriff's offices, Virginia State Police, DEA and ATF for all their assistance on this case. We could not have brought these charges without their work."
An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt, Dudley said. Defendants are entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Bassford is prosecuting the case in U.S. District Court in Roanoke.