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4 suspects held on $5M bond after Meth drug sting; Alleged Female Ringleader

Joshua Michael “Bubba” Lipe, 37, and Allison Smith, 51, both of McDowell County, are each being held on a $5 million bond. (Photos: McDowell County Sheriff's Office)

Thirteen people were arrested Wednesday night and Thursday morning after a meth drug-ring bust that also netted 24 pounds of meth, money and guns.

The investigation focused on alleged trafficking in McDowell and Rutherford counties. A sheriff's department spokesman for McDowell county said Allison Smith, 51, of Old Fort was the ringleader orchestrating the web of meth sales, and that the drugs were coming from the Atlanta area for distribution.

Warrants also state Smith was making a substantial income from the alleged operation she supervised.

Six of the 13 men and women arrested are being held on $1 million bonds; four have bond set at $5 million.

Authorities seized 24 pounds of meth, an unknown amount of cash, and a cache of 43 firearms, ranging from handguns to assault rifles. The street value of the seized methamphetamine is $1.3 million, according to authorities.

Beginning on the evening of Wednesday, December 27, 2017, authorities conducted multiple search warrants. Their names of those arrested, and their charges and bonds are as follows:

  • Tracey Lynn Arnold, 54, of Dedmond Road in Mooresboro, one count each of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $1 million bond
  • Andy Darren Green, 49, of Andrews Mill Road in Bostic, two counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $1 million bond
  • Roman Guzman, 27, of Lexington, S.C., one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine; $500,000 bond
  • Ruben Guzman, 26, of Spartanburg, S.C., two counts each of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and trafficking in methamphetamine and one count of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $5 million bond
  • Ashlea Nicole Hawkins, 34, of High Shoals Church Road in Mooresboro, one count each of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $100,000 bond
  • Joshua Michael “Bubba” Lipe, 37, of Indian Waters Drive in Old Fort, two counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $5 million bond
  • Dennis Eugene Medley, 35, of Beechwood Road in Mooresboro, one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine; $1 million bond
  • Tonya Chris-Ann Mullinax, 40, of Jack McKinney Road in Forest City, one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine; $1 million bond
  • Deidre Diane Pearson, 38, of Dedmond Road in Mooresboro, two counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $5 million bond
  • Dustin Bo Pearson, 30, of Cliffside St. in Rutherfordton, one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine; $1 million bond
  • Robin Ann Rhyne, 54, of Highway 70 Business East in Ellenboro, two counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $1 million bond
  • Allison Michelle Smith, 51, of Souther Road in Old Fort, one count each of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and continuing a criminal enterprise; $5 million bond
  • Wesley Chad Smith, 42, of Durham Road in Mooresboro, one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine; $500,000 bond

“Meth is still a major problem in this area,” said Chief Deputy Ricky Buchanan of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office. “Our goal is to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations in and around McDowell County, and I believe this investigation did just that.”

Authorities say additional arrests are forthcoming.

This was a joint investigation by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, Marion Police Department, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, the N.C. Highway Patrol, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, Morganton Department of Public Safety and the Prosecutorial District 29A District Attorney’s Office.

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