3 sentenced in multi-state drug ring

Nov. 23—TRIAD — Three people were sentenced this week in federal court in Greensboro on charges related to what prosecutors called a major drug ring based in Mexico that operated across the country.

Jeffery Scott Jones, 59, of Wilkesboro was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 16 years in prison; Michael Dale Blackmon, 40, of Benson was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison; and Tammy Lynn Wagoner, 48, of Wilkesboro was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

They were convicted of conspiracy to commit drug trafficking offenses.

They and 18 other people were indicted on various drug charges earlier this year and accused of distributing methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine and heroin, and court records describe shipments containing multiple kilograms of meth or 2,000 or more fentanyl pills.

One of the cooperating codefendants in the investigation who was not sentenced this week described sending money for drugs to the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico and described going to a townhome in downtown Greensboro where "she met a man who gave her a shirt containing the largest amount of money she had ever seen," which she then took to another of the codefendants, court records said.

Jones reportedly bought $10,000 to $15,000 worth of drugs a month from one of the other codefendants, but on one occasion this past January paid $20,000 for a shipment of 3 pounds of meth and 3 pounds of marijuana sent through the U.S. mail, court records said.

Packages of drugs often were mailed to Wagoner's home, and she would take them to Jones, court records said. A mail inspector in Greensboro intercepted one of those packages this past May, and investigators found it contained nearly 5 kilograms of meth.

Multiple codefendants told investigators they either took meth and cash to Blackmon or took money from him for drugs, court records said.

During the investigation, the FBI used a confidential source to buy a kilogram of methamphetamine in a meeting at a Winston-Salem shopping center, court records said. Testing found that the meth had a 98% purity level.

A different confidential source went to a house in North Wilkesboro where he bought more than five kilograms of meth, which was in bags inside a bucket, court records said.

The investigation began in 2020. Some of those charged previously had been convicted in the Middle District of North Carolina for drug trafficking through multiple jurisdictions across various states, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Defendants in this case who have been convicted so far have received sentences ranging from 41 months to 25 years in prison, and more are scheduled to be sentenced in February, the press release said.

In addition to their prison sentences, Jones was ordered to serve five years of supervised release and to pay a $4,000 fine, Blackmon was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay a $3,000 fine, and Wagoner was ordered to serve five years of supervised release.