LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Five people — three of whom are from Lynchburg — have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court in Charlottesville for conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, officials announced on Thursday.
The indictments were announced on Thursday, Feb. 25 by Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Bubar; Special Agent in Charge Ashan M. Benedict of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Washington Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division; Col. Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of the Virginia State Police; and Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema.
According to the statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Thursday, the grand jury returned a 14-count superseding indictment on Wednesday, Feb. 24 to charge Jeremel Lawrence Storey, Donnell Lamont Miller, Maggie Lee Smith, Ricky Donnell Abner, and Charay Lamont Trent with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
According to allegations in the indictment, Storey was reportedly involved in distributing more than five kilograms of cocaine while Miller, Smith, and Abner took part in distributing more than 500 grams of cocaine.
In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says the five people indicted were also charged with the following:
- Storey, 43, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is charged with one count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine; one count of distribution of cocaine; and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, specifically a short-barreled rifle.
- Miller, 41, of Lynchburg, is charged with an additional count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.
- Smith, 27, of Lynchburg, is charged with two additional counts of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of distribution of cocaine.
- Abner, 42, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is charged with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
- Trent, 41, of Lynchburg, is charged with five additional counts of distribution of cocaine, one count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to court documents, the defendants conspired to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana from around January 2016 through January 2021.
“Court documents allege that Storey was the main source of supply for the conspiracy from his residence in Charlotte, North Carolina. Storey regularly traveled from Charlotte to Lynchburg to supply multiple individuals with kilogram quantities of cocaine and collect payment,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “Storey also directed couriers to perform these trips and invited distributors, such as Trent, Smith, and Miller, to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, to obtain narcotics.”
Thursday’s statement says the indictment also includes notice of the forfeiture of several vehicles; approximately $89,000 in U.S. currency; and 32 pieces of jewelry, purses, and shoes alleged to be the proceeds of drug trafficking.
This effort is reportedly part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation, which serves to identify, disrupt, and dismantle high-level criminal organizations through a multi-agency approach.
Officials say the case — which is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Walsh — was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Virginia State Police’s Central Virginia Drug and Gang Task Force; and the Lynchburg Police Department.
“I am extremely proud of the dedication and determination displayed by the detectives involved in this case,” Lynchburg’s police chief said. “Their perseverance over the course of this multi-year investigation demonstrates our commitment to the residents of this great city.”
The Lynchburg Police Department also issued the following statement on Thursday in connection with this ongoing investigation:
The Lynchburg Police Department values its long-term relationships with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, including the Lynchburg Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Appomattox Sheriff’s Office, Amherst Sheriff’s Office, Bedford Sheriff’s Office, Campbell Sheriff’s Office, and Virginia State Police. The indictments in the attached news release are just one example of the great work the women and men of these collective agencies perform on a daily basis. We know drug activity directly ties into an increase in violent crime, and these arrests will have a significant impact on removing drugs from Lynchburg’s streets as well as keeping our residents healthy and safe.Lynchburg Police Department