Seven face federal drug charges

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Traffic stop led to investigation of methamphetamine ring

By Staff Reports


Following a six-month investigation, seven local men who allegedly took part in a major Twin County drug-trafficking ring have been arrested and face federal charges of distribution of methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Federal warrants were issued May 26 and served June 28, according to a press release from the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation was conducted by the Twin County Drug Task Force, the Claytor Lake Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Sheriff Richard Vaughan said he and Deputy Alan Graham conducted a traffic stop on Spring Valley Road, near the intersection of Liberty Hill Road in Fries, in January. The stop led to the recovery of two ounces of suspected methamphetamine from Arturo Velejan Herdandez, 45, of Pine Mountain Road, Independence.
That traffic stop led to a Twin County Drug Task Force investigation of Herdandez’s associates, which ultimately led to securing the federal warrants and arrests, Vaughan explained.
Seven suspects now face federal charges and have been arrested in connection with the alleged drug ring. Further arrests are expected in coming months, the sheriff said.
Those arrested, charged and in federal custody include:
• Arturo Velejan, 45, Independence
• William Cody Rutherford, 39, Fries
• Anthony Franklin Smallwood, 42, Elk Creek
• Michael Lee Moss, 36, Galax
• Daniel Lee Lawson, 27, Galax
• Roy Keith Carico, 35, Fries
• Sean Jenson Elledge, 28 Wytheville
“This group was responsible for trafficking pounds of methamphetamine into the Twin County area,” Vaughan said. “The communities of Grayson County, Carroll County, and the City of Galax are much safer as a result of this investigation. I would like to commend all of the investigators from both of these task forces for a job well done.”
The Twin County Drug Task Force consists of the Virginia State Police, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Hillsville Police Department, Galax Police Department and the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office.
The Claytor lake Drug Task Force consists of the Virginia State Police, Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Pulaski Police Department and Dublin Police Department.