Eight Sentenced to Federal Prison for Trafficking Methamphetamine in NE Alabama
BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge this week sentenced eight members of a northeast Alabama methamphetamine conspiracy to prison sentences ranging from two years to life, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr.
U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala sentenced JEFF MORRIS BEAM JR., 37, of Gadsden, to life in prison as the leader of an Etowah County-based conspiracy that trafficked methamphetamine in Etowah, Marshall and Calhoun counties in Alabama and in areas of northwestern Georgia.
“The ringleader of this drug-trafficking operation will spend the remainder of his youth, middle age, and the rest of his life in a federal prison,” Town said. “All eight of his co-defendants, to include his sister, have been reserved bed space in a federal prison, half of whom will be there for at least a decade. Federal, state and local law enforcement have a shared commitment to take drug traffickers off the streets and direct them to federal custody where there is no sanctuary of parole,” he said.
“The work done by the North Alabama Safe Streets Task Force dismantled this criminal enterprise, which was bringing large quantities of methamphetamine to the streets of Etowah County,” Sharp said. “I want to thank the Etowah County Drug Task Force, the Etowah County District Attorney’s Office, the Anniston Police Department, and the Calhoun County District Attorney’s Office for their work to help to bring Beam and his criminal organization to the justice they deserve.”
A federal jury convicted Beam in April of the conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine between December 2014 and April 28, 2016. The jury also convicted Beam for distributing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine on Aug. 18, 2015, and for possession with intent to distribute five grams or more on Aug. 25, 2015. The total amount of methamphetamine trafficked through the conspiracy was at least 33 kilograms, or nearly 73 pounds.
The seven other defendants involved in the conspiracy included Beam’s sister, JAMIE LEANN BEAM, 41, RICHARD WENDELL EDMONDSON, 36, HENRY CURTIS GILLEY, 34, HAROLD DEWAYNE DEAL, 39, and RICHARD LEE KIRBY, 35, all of Gadsden, and HANNAH BLAIR CROWDER, 25, and ROY CLAUDE FARLOW JR., 58, both of Attalla. All but Deal and Kirby pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge.
Edmondson pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and to two counts of possessing with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, once in Calhoun County on Jan. 3, 2016, and in Etowah County, along with co-defendant Farlow, on March 8, 2016. Judge Haikala sentenced Edmonson to 10 years in prison.
The judge sentenced Beam’s sister to 14 years in prison. Jamie Beam pleaded guilty in March to the conspiracy and to possessing with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine on July 1, 2015, and possessing with intent to distribute five grams or more on Oct. 14, 2015, both in Etowah County.
Gilley pleaded guilty in January to the conspiracy and to one count of possessing with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. The judge sentenced Gilley to 12 years in prison.
Deal pleaded guilty in January to possessing with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. The judge sentenced Deal to 10 years and 10 months in prison.
Crowder pleaded guilty in January to the conspiracy, possessing with intent to distribute more than 50 grams and possessing with intent to distribute more than five grams of methamphetamine. The judge sentenced Crowder to seven years and seven months in prison.
Kirby pleaded guilty in January to possessing with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. The judge sentenced Kirby to five years and 10 months in prison.
Farlow pleaded guilty in January to the conspiracy and to one count of possessing with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. The judge sentenced Farlow to two years and four months in prison.
The FBI investigated the case in conjunction with Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura D. Hodge and Erica Williamson Barnes prosecuted the case.
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