22 arrested on meth, gun charges in Operation Rolling Thunder

Sixteen local people are behind bars as a part of Operation Rolling Thunder. 

The operation is a collaborative effort focusing on gun violations and the selling of methamphetamine. In total, 22 people from Virginia and North Carolina entered guilty pleas as a result of the operation. 

The arrest of Grandy Nester, 33, of Pilot Mountain, N.C. spurred further arrests. Nester was sentenced to five and a half years in prison. He previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and conspiracy to distribute 500 grams of methamphetamine. 

According to evidence presented at numerous hearings, 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, Grayson County, Carroll County, and Surry County, N.C.

At the time of his arrest in June 2017, Nester was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and a gun.  

As a result of the investigation, the following people 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. 

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