WINSTON-SALEM — Seven defendants were sentenced to federal prison Tuesday for meth-related offenses stemming from Richmond County, according to the office of Sandra J. Hairston, acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.
Receiving the longest prison term is Brandon Lynn Kiker, who was sentenced to 13 years and six months for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.
Kiker and Myra Ann Horne, of Lilesville, were arrested by Rockingham police in late June of last year for cooking the caustic cocktail inside an apartment on Cauthen Drive.
According to a search warrant, investigators found several bottles with residue and various ingredients — including sodium hydroxide, lithium batteries and pseudoephedrine — inside the apartment.
Kiker told investigators that he had last smoked methamphetamine two days before the arrest and had actively manufactured the drug two to three days prior, according to court documents.
Although it wasn’t listed in search warrant information, police told the Daily Journal that a child was also present at the apartment.
Federal prosecutors say Horne was sentenced to eight years and five months for “conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine.”
Five other co-conspirators were sentenced on the same charge:
• Mary Elizabeth Collins — four years, nine months;
• Raymond Collins — three years, three months
• Donna Pullian Hayden — three years, 11 months
• Dorothy Jean Hayden — one year, seven months
• Tammy McIntyre Bruner — four years
In addition, each defendant was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment, and will be on three years of supervised release after serving their respective prison terms, according to federal prosecutors.
All seven entered guilty pleas in federal court last October.
The cases were investigated jointly by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, the Rockingham Police Department and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
Because meth was becoming a growing problem, the sheriff’s office and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation initiated a federal investigation with U.S. Attorney Ripley Rand’s office in 2014. Since then, at least 52 people have been indicted on federal meth charges.
At least 20 of those were convicted in 2015.
That year, Richmond County tied with Anson County as having the third-highest number of meth labs in the state, both with 27, according to the SBI.
The last numbers currently available for 2016 — listing clandestine lab responses as of Oct. 31 — show Richmond as the fourth-highest with 11 and Anson in second with 19.
Johnston County had the highest (31) with Gaston, Onslow and Wake counties tying for third with 15 each.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_toler.