Two from Rowan Co. charged in massive drug investigation in Cherokee Indian reservation

Two from Rowan Co. charged in massive drug investigation in Cherokee Indian reservation
Carsen Byrd and Timothy McCain (Source: Rowan County Sheriff's Office)

ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Two people from Rowan County were charged in a federal operation targeting drug trafficking in and around what the federal government refers to as "Indian Country" in North Carolina.

The investigation has resulted in the arrest of more than 75 individuals on federal, state and tribal charges, announced Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

The undercover operation, led by the Department of Interior’s (DOI) Opioid Reduction Task Force, in coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Cherokee Indian Police Department and multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, began in March 2018, and aimed at disrupting and dismantling drug distribution networks operating in and around the Qualla Boundary.

In addition to the 76 arrests in connection with DOI’s Opioid Reduction Task Force operation, a concurrent two-year investigation spearheaded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Division of Drug Enforcement and the DEA led to the previous arrest of 56 additional individuals responsible for trafficking opiates and methamphetamine in Indian Country, bringing the total number of those arrested to 132.

Carsen Byrd of Rowan County was charged with conspire to sell and deliver heroin/fentanyl.

Timothy McCain of Rowan County was charged with two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon.

Twelve individuals face federal drug offenses. They are:

  • Dontavius  Juan Cox, 26, of Sylva, N.C.
  • Derek  Wilson Driver, 26, of Cherokee, N.C.
  • David  Charles Fisher, 56, of Bryson City, N.C.
  • Timothy  Mark Grady, 43, Bryson City, N.C.
  • Kandace  Rhean Griffin, 29, of Cherokee, N.C.
  • Kenneth  Dean Griffin, 51, Cherokee, N.C.
  • Kevin  Dewayne Huskey, 47, of Bryson City, N.C.
  • Saryna  Michelle Miller, 22, of Bryson City, N.C.
  • Jeremy  Dwayne Morton, 21, of Bryson City, N.C.
  • Javier  Fernando Perez, 27, of Norcross, Georgia.
  • David  William Smith, 30, of Sylva, N.C.
  • Dee  Anna Wike, 45, of Cherokee, N.C.

To date, the joint investigations have yielded a seizure of more than 3.8 pounds of heroin and Fentanyl; more than 18 pounds of methamphetamine; over 270 Fentanyl and Oxycodone tablets; and more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, with a combined street value of over $1.82 million.

Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement also seized five illegally possessed firearms.

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