ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Federal authorities say 12 people believed to be members of a methamphetamine trafficking ring are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Asheville said in a statement that seven of those charged were arrested Tuesday during an early morning round-up by federal, state and local law enforcement.
A criminal indictment unsealed last week says that between June and July of last year, ring members conspired to possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, or more than 500 grams of a mixture or substance containing meth.
The indictment alleges that the defendants ran their drug ring primarily in Buncombe, Cleveland and McDowell counties.
All 12 defendants face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a $10 million fine.
The following individuals were named in the indictment, including two who are still at large:
- George Wade Cook (a/k/a “Rooster”), 52 , of Caser, N.C. (in custody)
- Gergory Ray DeHart, 44, of Marion, N.C. (in custody)
- Ramona Jamison Lail, 48 ,of Marion. (in custody)
- Jimmy Dwayne Lawing (a/k/a “Dick”), 45 of Marion. (in custody)
- Carlos Alvarado Mendoza (a/k/a “Tequila”), 39 of Candler, N.C. (in custody)
- John Louis Pivonka, 42 of Marion. (in custody)
- Tommy Ray Sisk, 56 of Old Fort, N.C. (in custody)
- John Matthew Frady, (a/k/a “Ghost”), 39, of Cowpens, S.C. (in state custody)
- Jeffrey Kirkland, 41, of Gainesville, Ga. (in federal custody in Georgia)
- Miguel Santos-Maldonado (a/k/a “Mateo Segura”), 42, of Gainesville, Ga. (fugitive)
- Rigoberto Alvarado Mendoza (a/k/a “Big Boy”), 42 of Arden, N.C.(fugitive)
- Taide Alvarado Vergara, 27, of Candler. (fugitive)