Crime & Courts

16 charged in Charlotte-area heroin trafficking ring

Sixteen Charlotte area residents face charges in a heroin trafficking ring, including five on stiffer federal conspiracy charges, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The ring obtained heroin from Mexico and trafficked the drug in Mecklenburg County and elsewhere from April 2015 until this month, according to a criminal indictment returned on Nov. 15 and unsealed Tuesday in federal court in Charlotte.

“The arrests in this case are part of my office’s ongoing effort to combat heroin trafficking rings throughout our district,” U.S. Attorney Jill Rose said in a statement. “As heroin is quickly becoming the No. 1 cause of overdose-related deaths, not just in Western North Carolina but throughout the country, law enforcement agencies continue to ramp up the fight against drug trafficking conspiracies operating in our communities.”

Facing the federal charge of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute heroin are Elyssa Breanne Shuford, 37, of Gastonia and Concord residents Maggie Elizabeth Sanders, 36, Kevin Tyler Bell, 24, Jamie Nicole McDaniel, 31, and Joshua Dale Gregory, 28.

Bell, McDaniel and Shuford also are charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin and Sanders with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Only Gregory has yet to be arrested.

Facing state charges are Kenneth Junior Bell, Silas Lamont Swain, Monica Bell, Jessica Marie James, Christopher Godwin, Sara Dianne Weaver, Charles Thomas Anderson, Jason Eugene Lavender, Michael Todd Lowe, James Dillard Proctor and Timothy Kyle Bennett.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak