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A federal grand jury has indicted 21 people from Wise and Lee counties for alleged crimes involving methamphetamine distribution.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Virginia announced the charges in a Tuesday press release.

The indictment was returned May 29 and unsealed Tuesday. At the time of the press release distribution, four suspects had not been located by police. The others were arrested Tuesday or had been in custody previously.

Minus the four suspects not yet arrested, those charged include:

• Travis Lee Pennington, 36, of Appalachia: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; three counts of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; one count of using a communication device in the commission of a drug trafficking offense; one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; one count of being a convicted felon illegally in possession of a firearm; one count of being in possession of a firearm that had the manufacturer’s serial number removed or altered; one count of using violence or the threat of violence to retaliate against a witness.

• Omar Kareem Banks, 44, of Coeburn: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; one count of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; one count of being a convicted felon illegally in possession of a firearm.

• Shawn Brandon Barnes, 40, of Appalachia: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; two counts of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; one count of using a communication device in the commission of a drug trafficking offense.

• Jeffrey Wayne Caudill, 47, of Keokee: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

• Jaime Lee Christian, 39, of Wise County: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; one count of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

• Carl Lee Davis Jr., 33, of Keokee: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

• Jonathan Earl Funk, 32, of Wise County: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

• Lewis Wesley Hickman III, 25, of Wise County: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, one count of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

• Joseph Andrew Hobbs, 27, of Wise County: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; one count of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

• James Morrison Johnson, 28, of Wise County: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; one count of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

• Jeremey David Mallory, 41: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

• Tony Lynn McClellan, 33, of Big Stone Gap: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; three counts of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; two counts of using a communications device to facilitate a drug trafficking offense; one count of using a firearm in a crime of violence.

• Susan Adrianna Mullins, 30: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; two counts of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; two counts of using a communication device to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.

• Misty Nelms, 28: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; one count of using a communication device in the commission of a drug trafficking offense.

• David Stone Ringley, 28, of Wise County: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

• Travis Ryan Skaggs, 30, of Wise County: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; one count of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

• Joshua Barrett Sutherland, 33: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm; one count of using a firearm in a crime of violence.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, some suspects are listed simply as living in Wise County, or listed with no address information, because “we don’t have exact address information on some of the defendants.”

The indictment alleges that the 21 defendants conspired to distribute methamphetamine in Lee and Wise counties, and elsewhere, between July 1, 2016 and May 1, 2019.

Also, it alleges that between Feb. 22 and March 5, 2019, Travis Pennington “used violence or the threat of violence to retaliate against a witness,” the release notes.

Agencies investigating the case include the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force, which is comprised of sheriff’s offices in Scott, Lee, Wise and Dickenson counties, the Norton and Big Stone Gap police departments and Virginia State Police.

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