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Leader of meth trafficking ring operating in Southwest Virginia sentenced to 30 years in prison

25 others connected to operation sentenced to a combined 4,089 months or 340 years, 9 months

Shawn Farris, 54, of Rancho Mirage, California
Shawn Farris, 54, of Rancho Mirage, California (Southwest Virginia Regional Jail)

ABINGDON, Va. – The man at the center of a national drug trafficking ring operating in Southwest Virginia will spend the next 30 years in prison, according to United States Attorney Thomas Cullen.

Shawn Farris, 54, of Rancho Mirage, California had previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of meth.

Farris’ operation was the subject of a 2017 joint law enforecement operation, Operation California Dreaming.

California Dreaming’s focus was on the trafficking of meth between California, Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

The operation led to charges being filed against 28 people in California, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee for being members of a drug trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of large quantities of meth.

Farris was the leader of the organization and was responsible for arranging the shipment and transportation of extremely pure meth from his home in California to Bristol, Virginia, Bristol, Tennessee, and Abingdon, Virginia, according to Cullen.

He also established a large number of distributors to sell the meth to users in these communities.

In addition to Farris, to date, 26 members charged in the conspiracy have pleaded guilty or been found guilty, while one defendant remains a fugitive.

Below is the list of those charged:

  1. Sean Phillip Maidlow – Sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of meth
  2. Lacey Cheri Weir – Sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of meth
  3. Andrea Nichole Stickel - Sentenced to 17 years, 6 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  4. James Nicholas Howington – Sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more ofmethamphetamine.
  5. James Robert Johnson – Sentenced to 12 years, 7 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  6. Stephen A. Graham – Sentenced to 7 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  7. Christopher Lee Smiley – Sentenced to 5 years, 4 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  8. Joshua Todd Chapman – Sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  9. Saleemah Lashawn Roberson – Sentenced to 9 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  10. Donald Zachary Snyder – Sentenced to 22 years, 6 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 Grams or more of methamphetamine, distribute methamphetamine, and possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
  11. James Skyler Sebastian – To Be Sentenced
  12. Larry Levi Bennett – Sentenced to 19 years, 7 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  13. Terry Melvin Dalton – Sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and distribute methamphetamine.
  14. Heather Ashley Davis – Sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  15. Brianna Nicole Woodby – Sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  16. Donald Shane Hawthorne – Sentenced to 12 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  17. Gary Lee McFarlane – Sentenced to 11 years, 3 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and distribute methamphetamine
  18. Elizabeth Pauline Eaton – Sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  19. Matthew Todd Mullins – Sentenced to 15 years, 8 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, distribute methamphetamine, and manufacture counterfeit United States currency.
  20. Anthony Chadwick Harless -Sentenced to 9 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  21. Kimberly Ann Drake – Sentenced to 17 years, 6 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  22. Brandon Heath Whitt – Sentenced to 9 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  23. Melissa Darlene Barrett – Sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and distribute methamphetamine.
  24. Susan Nicole Payne – Sentenced to 7 years, 3 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and distribute methamphetamine
  25. Bradley Scott Williams – Sentenced to 17 years imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  26. Devon Scott Coleman – Sentenced to 17 years, 7 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, possess 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, and possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

Jair Medina Gutierrez remains a fugitive.


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