Operation Witches Brew Sweeps Up Meth Trade

WEST JEFFERSON -- Nearly 50 people are behind bars in Ashe County on methamphetamine charges following a joint investigation and arrests by the Ashe County Sheriff's Office and the State Bureau of Investigation.

Operation Witches Brew targeted "smurfers," those who buy the products to make methamphetamine, and the "cookers," the ones who make this highly addictive stimulant drug.

"For the past two years, we have been conducting investigations and making arrests, and today's arrests are the largest meth round-up ever in this county," Ashe County Sheriff James Williams said. "We tried to get as many as possible to sweep with a broom at one time to get a better chance of shutting these operations down."

Those charged with manufacturing methamphetamine are being held in the Ashe County Jail on a half million dollar bond. Those charged with the illegal purchase of meth ingredients are being held on a $250,000 bond.

Sheriff Williams said the morning flowed well in picking up the 54 targeted suspects.

"This is a team effort," Williams said. "Any operation of this size-- the partnership is invaluable.

"Many of our SBI agents are certified in dismantling clandestine labs," said Paula Carson, special agent in charge of the northwestern district. "Throughout this operation, we have decontaminated five active labs. The goal is to make it harder and harder for anyone looking for this drug to find a seller."

Boone Police Department and the Alleghany Sheriff's Office also participated in the operation.


Contact: Sheriff James Williams
Phone: (336) 846-5633