Authorities charged eight suspects in a cocaine and crack cocaine trafficking ring that operated in Cleveland and Rutherford counties.
Six of the eight suspects were arrested Tuesday in an early morning roundup. Another suspect was already in custody, and one has yet to be arrested.
The ring operated from May 2015 until the beginning of this year, U.S. Attorney Jill Rose said Wednesday.
The suspects are named in a 22-count federal indictment. Each is charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine and related drug offenses.
The suspects are Kevin McArthur Bailey, 37, and Lonnie McDowell, 65, of Shelby; James Rollins Glover Jr., 30, of Spindale; Heather Michelle Shehan, 28, of Rutherfordton; and Anthony Price Laney, 34, Craig Vinshun Mosley, 32, Justin Latrey Mosley, 26, and Vincent Mosley, 55, all of Forest City.
The suspects in custody were to appear in federal court in Asheville on Wednesday.
Each suspect faces multiple counts, with some of the counts carrying up to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine.
“The arrests in this case are part of my office’s ongoing effort to combat drug trafficking throughout our district,” Rose said in a news release. “I want to thank all the law enforcement agencies that participated in this investigation for joining forces in our fight against drug distribution and the violence that comes with drug trafficking.”
The arrests followed a year-long investigation by the ATF and the sheriff’s offices in Rutherford and Cleveland counties. Assisting were the U.S. Marshal’s Service; ICE/Homeland Security Investigations, the SBI, N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement, the Forest City Police Department and the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office.