Last member of large Virginia meth trafficking operation gets 14 years in federal prison

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ABINGDON, VA – James Sebastian, a member of a conspiracy that trafficked methamphetamine from the West coast into Southwest Virginia, was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon to 168 months in prison, Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar announced.

“Methamphetamine distribution continues to threaten public safety throughout Southwest Virginia,” Acting U.S. Attorney Bubar stated today.  “Today’s significant sentence ought to send a message of our commitment to dismantling drug trafficking organizations responsible for dealing this deadly narcotic and sending their members to federal prison.”

Sebastian, 48, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and one count of distribution of methamphetamine.

According to court documents, Sebastian was part of a large-scale methamphetamine organization. In early 2017, Operation California Dreaming began investigating the trafficking of methamphetamine between California, Southwest Virginia, and Northeast Tennessee. As a result of that investigation, 28 individuals, located in California, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee, were charged as being members of a drug trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of large quantities of methamphetamine.  Charges levied against these individuals included both drug and firearms offenses.


Sebastian was the final member of the conspiracy to be sentenced:

  1. Sean Phillip Maidlow – 300 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  2. Jair Medina Gutierrez – Fugitive
  3. Lacey Cheri Weir – 300 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  4. Andrea Nichole Stickel  – 210 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  5. James Nicholas Howington – 168 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  6. James Robert Johnson – 151 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  7. Stephen A. Graham – 84 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  8. Christopher Lee Smiley – 64 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  9. Joshua Todd Chapman – 168 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  10. Saleemah Lashawn Roberson – 108 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  11. Donald Zachary Snyder – 270 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 Grams or more of methamphetamine, distribute methamphetamine, and possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
  12. Larry Levi Bennett – 235 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  13. Terry Melvin Dalton – 120 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and distribute methamphetamine.
  14. Heather Ashley Davis – 120 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  15. Brianna Nicole Woodby – 60 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  16. Donald Shane Hawthorne – 144 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  17. Gary Lee McFarlane – 135 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and distribute methamphetamine
  18. Elizabeth Pauline Eaton – 168 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  19.  Matthew Todd Mullins – 188 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, distribute methamphetamine, and manufacture counterfeit United States currency.
  20. Anthony Chadwick Harless -108 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  21. Kimberly Ann Drake – 210 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  22. Brandon Heath Whitt – 108 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  23. Melissa Darlene Barrett – 168 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and distribute methamphetamine.
  24. Susan Nicole Payne – 87 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and distribute methamphetamine
  25. Bradley Scott Williams – 204 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  26.  Devon Scott Coleman – 211 months imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, possess 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, and possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.The investigation of the case was conducted the Abingdon Police Department, Virginia State Police, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Bristol, Tennessee Police Department, Bristol, Virginia Police Department, the Sullivan County, Tennessee Second Judicial Drug Task Force, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department, Commerce, Georgia Police Department, New Jersey State Police, United States Postal Inspection Service, United States Marshals Service, United States Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The Washington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Bristol, Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, and the Sullivan County, District Attorney’s Office have assisted in the investigation.  Assistant United States Attorneys Zachary T. Lee and Cagle Juhan prosecuted the case for the United States.

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