RALEIGH — Federal prosecutors have won prison sentences of up to 30 years for members of a methamphetamine ring that spanned Johnston, Sampson and Wayne counties, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
The arrests and convictions were part of an ongoing investigation, called Operation Speed Bump, that includes the State Bureau of Investigation and sheriff’s offices in 15 counties. In the drug ring takedown announced Monday, 16 people from Johnston, Wayne and Sampson county pleaded guilty to 17 total charges.
The group “was responsible for manufacturing large amounts of domestically produced methamphetamine,” according to the attorney’s office. Its members traveled around North Carolina to buy the medicine pseudoephedrine, steal anhydrous ammonia and use them to make meth, according to the attorney’s office.
The tri-county ring bought more than five kilograms of pseudoephedrine and produced close to that weight in methamphetamine from 2008 to 2012, prosecutors say. Its members faced various charges, including conspiracy to make and distribute more than 500 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine; possessing a meth-containing substance; having equipment and ingredients for the drug’s manufacture, and having a shotgun for use in the operation.
Fifteen of the suspects pleaded guilty only to the conspiracy charge. Their sentences range from 6.75 years to 30 years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The longest sentences went to John Savage and Ryan Meyers, who pleaded guilty in September.
In all, Operation Speed Bump has resulted in 78 convictions, according to Don Connelly, a regional spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.