14 face federal charges in massive meth trafficking ring, US Attorney announces

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. — Fourteen members of a methamphetamine trafficking ring were charged with federal drug conspiracy and related drug and firearms offenses, said Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

The federal indictment was unsealed Wednesday in court.

The massive investigation spanned from Georgia to Western North Carolina.

Seven of those charged have been arrested by federal, state and local law enforcement, and the remaining seven defendants are currently incarcerated on unrelated charges. The arrests are the result of a multiagency investigation targeting the trafficking of methamphetamine from Georgia into Western North Carolina.

[4 arrested after monthslong investigation leads to major meth distribution operation in Alexander County]

“With methamphetamine trafficking on the rise, it is crucial that we continue to team up with our law enforcement counterparts to stem the flow of this dangerous drug, disrupt drug pipelines, and prosecute traffickers who plague our neighborhoods and imperil our communities,” Murray said.

“The trafficking of methamphetamine into our country and its spread through our communities is a national crisis. Together, through our partnerships with the DEA and the United States Attorney’s Office, we are fighting this battle as a united front,” said Sheriff Donald G. Brown II, of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office.

The 14 defendants were involved in a drug conspiracy from 2018 until April 2019 that trafficked and distributed methamphetamine in Catawba, Lincoln, Caldwell and Alexander counties and elsewhere in Western North Carolina, according to allegations contained in the criminal indictment.

Authorities seized at least 23 firearms and more than $250,000 in “drug proceeds.”

The defendants charged are:

  • Thomas Dewayne Simmons, Jr., 34, of Snellville, Georgia
  • Ruth Marie Duggar, 36, of Claremont
  • Kimberly Deann Bumgarner, 55, of Claremont
  • Cynthia Roxanne Shook, 34, of Catawba
  • Lowell Thomas Messer, 32, of Sherrills Ford
  • Samantha Jean Taylor, 26, of Newton
  • Jason Keith Reichard, 38, of Newton
  • Aaron Douglas Goodson, 29, of Maiden (in custody on state charges)
  • Priscilla Chapman Lambert, 33, of Hickory (in custody on state charges)
  • Jonathan Corey Daniel, 31, currently incarcerated in the Georgia Department of Corrections
  • Tiffany Christmas Hirani, 33, currently incarcerated at the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center in Jonesboro, Georgia
  • James Kristoffer Cantley, 38, currently incarcerated at the Robert A. Detention Center in Lovejoy, Georgia
  • Brian Duane Martz, 40, currently incarcerated in the Georgia Department of Corrections
  • Michael James Notheisen, 34, currently incarcerated in the North Carolina Department of Corrections

All the defendants were charged with conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, which carries a statutory minimum prison term of 10 years and a maximum term of life in prison and a $10 million fine.

Some face additional drug possession and distribution charges and/or related firearms offenses.

“The trafficking of methamphetamine into our country and its spread through our communities is a national crisis,” Catawba County Sheriff Donald G. Brown II said. “Together, through our partnerships with the DEA and the United States Attorney’s Office, we are fighting this battle as a united front.”

Murray thanked the following agencies for their investigative efforts which led to federal charges: the DEA in Charlotte, Asheville, and Atlanta; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; the North Carolina State Highway Patrol; the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office; the Newton Police Department; the Conover Police Department; the Maiden Police Department; the Hickory Police Department; the Longview Police Department; the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office; the Granite Falls Police Department; the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office; the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office; the Huntersville Police Department; the Cornelius Police Department; the Mint Hill Police Department; the Pineville Police Department; the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department; the Monroe Police Department; the Taylorsville Police Department; the Gaston County Police Department; the Georgia Highway Patrol; the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia; the Georgia Bureau of Investigation; the Georgia Department of Corrections; the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia; and the Commerce Police Department in Georgia.