Surry County meth bust sends 20 to prison

Surry County deputies have federally charged 20 people in connection to a two-year meth investigation. See more mugshots below.

Surry County deputies have federally charged 20 people in connection to a two-year meth investigation. See more mugshots below.

SURRY COUNTY, N.C. — Surry County deputies have federally charged 20 people in connection to a two-year meth investigation.

Authorities said the investigation resulted in the discovery of eight active meth labs across all areas of the county.

Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson said they called the investigation “Operation Arizona Tea,” because the cooks were using the same tea bottles in their production.

“Most of the suspects were arrested on state charges and then indicted at the federal level,” Atkinson said. “A few went directly to federal court.”

Atkinson said the investigation consisted of surveillance, undercover buys, and tracking pseudoephedrine purchases.

Arrests included labs in Dobson, Pilot Mountain, Mount Airy and Elkin areas.

“The investigation really shows the networking of users, producers and dealers,” Atkinson said.

Federal warrants charged the suspects with conspiracy in the meth production with involvement ranging from purchasing pseudoephedrine for production to the actual production of methamphetamine.

Sentences ranged from eight months to more than 16 years. All the sentences are in federal prison.

Those sentenced in the operation were:

Donald Ray Beck, 44, 109 Charles Beck Lane, Mount Airy, 16 years 3 months

Donald Ray Beck, 44, 109 Charles Beck Lane, Mount Airy, 16 years 3 months

Angela Henley Beck, 42, same address, 15 years 9 months

Angela Henley Beck, 42, same address, 15 years 9 months

Tommy Lee Leftwich, 46, 1795 Cook School Road, Pilot Mountain, 14 years 2 months

Tommy Lee Leftwich, 46, 1795 Cook School Road, Pilot Mountain, 14 years 2 months

Dillon Edward Leftwich, 21, same address, 13 years 6 months

Dillon Edward Leftwich, 21, same address, 13 years 6 months

Johnny Ray Bowman, 45, 11 years 2 months

Johnny Ray Bowman, 45, 11 years 2 months

Justin Shane Atkins, 24, 135 W. L Lebanon St., Mount Airy, 6 years, 1 month

Justin Shane Atkins, 24, 135 W. L Lebanon St., Mount Airy, 6 years, 1 month

Steven Edward Gwyn, 37, 136 Melissa Drive, Mount Airy, 5 years 3 months

Steven Edward Gwyn, 37, 136 Melissa Drive, Mount Airy, 5 years 3 months

Mary Ruth Cook, 1795 Cook School Road, Pilot Mountain, 4 years and 11 months

Mary Ruth Cook, 1795 Cook School Road, Pilot Mountain, 4 years and 11 months

Joshua Dylan Bennett, 21, 430 Kermit Lewis Road, Pilot Mountain, 3 years 9 months

Joshua Dylan Bennett, 21, 430 Kermit Lewis Road, Pilot Mountain, 3 years 9 months

Dustin Joseph Cochran, 44, 503 Speas Mill Road, Cana, Vs., 3 years federal probation

Dustin Joseph Cochran, 44, 503 Speas Mill Road, Cana, Vs., 3 years federal probation

Alexandria Marie Lynch, 25, 397 Ring Road, 2 years 8 months

Alexandria Marie Lynch, 25, 397 Ring Road, 2 years 8 months

Jimmy David Hunter, 42, 130 Chase Trail, Elkin, 2 years 7 months

Jimmy David Hunter, 42, 130 Chase Trail, Elkin, 2 years 7 months

Joseph Patrick Cockerham, 24, 171 Cook Lane, Pilot Mountain, 2 years 6 months

Joseph Patrick Cockerham, 24, 171 Cook Lane, Pilot Mountain, 2 years 6 months

Samantha Renee Edmonds, 19, 138 Rons Way, Mount Airy, 2 years 6 months

Samantha Renee Edmonds, 19, 138 Rons Way, Mount Airy, 2 years 6 months

Casey Renee Cockerham, 21, 171 Cook Lane, 2 years 3 months

Casey Renee Cockerham, 21, 171 Cook Lane, 2 years 3 months

April Lee Badgett, 36, 270 Woodbridge Dr., Mount Airy

April Lee Badgett, 36, 270 Woodbridge Dr., Mount Airy

Jessica Nichols Sams, 23, 160 Badgett Farm Trail, Dobson

Jessica Nichols Sams, 23, 160 Badgett Farm Trail, Dobson

Alicia Michelle Atkins, 30, 107 Comanche Lane, Mount Airy, 1 year 10 months

Alicia Michelle Atkins, 30, 107 Comanche Lane, Mount Airy, 1 year 10 months

Jennifer Lora Holding, 28, 355 Austin Drive, Mount Airy, 1 year 7 months

Jennifer Lora Holding, 28, 355 Austin Drive, Mount Airy, 1 year 7 months

Andrew Clay Edmonds, 21, 138 Rons Way, Mount Airy, 8 months

Andrew Clay Edmonds, 21, 138 Rons Way, Mount Airy, 8 months

41 comments

    • Dave

      Yeah, a felony on your record will definitely change your life for the better. These people need help and treatment, not jail time and fines.

      • ally

        yeah a felony on their records may not help them out very much but there are ways around the felony as far as straightening up there lives there are places that hire people with felonies so that’s not an excuse. these people are getting what they deserve it was their own stupidity to do this no matter what the reasons behind it were they knew from the get go it was wrong and they still proceeded in it. so i don’t feel sorry for them i do however feel sorry for the families who are going to have extra stress added to their lives over these individuals, they are the true victims here.

      • Sue

        The people that are like in their 40’s, have more than likely had more help than you can imagine. Prison, thats the best rehab for them!!! And 9 times out of ten, crack and meth heads will die being crack and meth heads.

  • Darlene Cooke Snow

    My thoughts/prayers are with their families and the people who are hurting so much over their actions. I hope once released they can all get their lives together and make positive choices for a better future. I know some of the families and they are good, decent people who have suffered greatly through the actions of their loved ones, my heart goes out to them. I think Surry Co, like most other rural counties really lacks in its programs to prevent drug addiction and also it in programs to treat addiction once it’s identified.

  • Felicia

    So many babies…..it’s sad. They say for every lab busted there are 30 more out there. There’s also a p2p method that doesn’t involve pseudo. It’s an old “biker meth” recipe. Meth is poison.

  • peggy

    It’s so sad for people to get their life messed up in this kind of life, but since thats what they chose, I’m glad they are caught and going to be serving time, which is what they deserve. Look at the lives touched by making and trafficking drugs. Think of the little children that are exposed to the atmosphere while this is being made, and think of the little children that have no home life. They are much better off in foster care, or orphanages, at least they have a chance. People in the making and using, trafficking of the drugs, their children, their family is not important to them. Sometimes, they are used as a front. SAD SAD> SAD? Yes, it is. Blessings to the parents of these criminals. I feel sad for you also. There are more labs out there and I wish they could find everyone of them, get the criminals and burn the labs down.

    • bridget

      my daughter is one of these that is involved here and she got in trouble just because she was dating the wrong guy and has never done drugs her whole life so therefore she does not deserve to be where she is but i agree most of them do!

    • angel

      You don’t even know the whole situation. I appreciate the prayer for family but don’t judge. My sister didnt do anything wrong and is one that is arrested. She has two kids and trust me they are not better off in an orphanage or foster home. Yes they miss their mom but they have a huge family there for them.

      • Beth

        I’m sorry but if your sister had been thinking with her head straight she would know that being around people like this is only going to bring trouble. I would never date someone like this esp of I had children to care for. This could have easily not happened to her. I’ll be praying for her that when all of this is over she starts making right decisions and better choices for her and her kids.

  • fred

    To angel & bridget
    Sorry your daughter and sister got messed up with these scum bags.
    My mama always said if you lay down with dogs you get fleas.
    You are the company you keep.

  • just me

    One of my dearest friends are pictured. She absolutely is one of the most caring persons you will every meet. Don’t judge until you know the families and the situations. Some of the accused where given a bad rap because of their spouses and boyfriends. I know one little girl is missing both her mom and dad because the court seemed okay with taking them both away even though the mom was just residing at the residence.

  • opinonated american

    This bust was a long time ago. Why are you publisizing it now? these people are someone’s loved one. Drugs are a bad thing. These people need help not your snide remarks. Educate our youth to the dangers if you are not talking to your children or grandchildren… Someone else will be.

  • FaithC

    Angel and Bridget…I am sure it is not easy having your daughter in jail…they must have known these people were making, doing and dealing meth? Why did they continue to spend time with them?

  • milady

    Yes this story did take place a while back some have or about to be released already. Don’t cast judgement!! Some of these are here time and time again and others just got mixed in a VERY BAD JUDGEMENT OF CHARACTER. Their fault absolutely, but the judgement put on them due to not snitching. This is the reason people have NO faith in our judicial system as is. Great work Graham, I guess its good being a Sheriff of a small town without big problems which is honestly a real life fairy tell in it’s self. The reality of it is you let the ones stay out that tell you who’s who and the ones that pay their way and so be it with the rest. Shame on you

  • angel

    For one you don’t know the whole situation. So you really have no reason to be commenting saying anything. Concerned citizens.. Yeah you mat be but how would you feel if someone was talking like this about someone your close to just because they got mixed up in something and couldn’t get out.

    • angel

      Beth: like I said you don’t know the whole situation. My sister got away from these people for her family and kids and still got involved and arrested so yeah.
      Will: I’m not minimizing any of there choices. If you read what I said. Not all of them deserve what they got. At least not the one I know. Yeah a lot of them made bad decisions and deserve what they got. And will probably do the same thing when their out but don’t tell me what to or what not to do. I know the truth and what really went on. THANKS!!!

  • Tammy

    So sad. Please everyone stop and think before you ever get mixed up in drugs. Not only do drugs destroy your lives but all the peoples lives that love you. Think of all the consequences. I am sure no one wants to spends the lives behind bars. Be better than drugs! Don’t let them destroy you!

  • Beth Gardner

    I watched a video years ago during an EMT class about meth and it sickened me. Maybe they need to educate this stuff in school. The chemicals in it are deadly not to mention what it does to you. There are far better escapes to stress than that.

  • Shawn Mullins

    If drugs were legal these people would not be in such bad shape. Our society is so stupid!! Ignorance is truly bliss! No matter how many are arrested, drugs will still be available on just about every corner. This does nothing to even put a dent in the “problem”.. Most of the problems with drugs is the fact they are illegal, if they were made in a clean lab somewhere using the right methods they would not tax peoples bodies so hard… WHY DONT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND ?!!?

    • Sue

      And just exactly would Meth be prescribed to do to better someones health or life. Ya know, speaking from a legal, medical view

      • JT

        MDMA, a methamphetamine derivative, has been used to treat a host of psychological disorders, including PTSD. Methamphetamine has, in extreme cases, been prescribed for weight loss. Cocaine is used for nasal, oral, and ocular surgery. LSD is being used in clinical trials to fight migraines. Should I go on, or will you just persist in your D.A.R.E.-baby oversimplification?

  • Tim Parker

    the love of money is the biggest reason for most of this! most people make big money ti’ll they get caught . they are not worried about mom/dad/wife/kids or no one else. just easy money.!!!

    • vanessia griggs

      they dont need kids if there doing things like this ! this is what we are trying to keep our kids from so yes they need to be in a better ENVIRONMENT they this …

  • Janice

    Dealers need jail and these people were involved in meth labs. Addicts are the ones who have an illness and fall prey to these manufactures. surry county is full of dealers and users, more than a city like Ft. lauderdale. I dont fell sorry for those involved with the dealers. they chose to be there. I do feel sorry for the children who had no choice. Surry needs to beef up its drug arrests and invest more in tratment. No users….no need for dealers.

  • Chris

    While I agree that meth is a poor decision it’s personal one not a criminal one.These people were not stealing ,raping or murdering anyone .What they were doing was destroying their own bodies not unlike smoking or becoming obese does .Can you imagine if we locked people up for smoking like one lawmaker has tried to make law?In the 44 years of the drug war it has destroyed more lives than the drugs themselves.Meanwhile ,Portugal has decriminalized all drugs and now uses that money on treatment They put 200 people through treatment for the same cost to lock 1 up.They have cut drug use in half over 5 years.Chew on that .

      • Chris

        Herpaderp,without a person who freely chooses to use meth that someone cooks the cook has a pile of worthless powder.With your argument the alcohol , cigarette and shortening industry is solely to blame for alcoholism, lung cancer and people getting fat.The cook didn’t force his product on anyone .A person made a conscious decision to use meth and while its not a smart one its still their own body and therefore shouldn’t be a criminal offence.

  • herpaderp

    They would’ve never been caught had they not broken the cardinal rule. Letting extra people in your circle never brings about good things.

  • skye

    I know one of the girls and she is a loving and sweet person BUT SHE KNOWS BETTER I THINK SHE GOT MESSED UP IN IT BECAUSE BY THE LOOK OF THE PIC SHE LOOKS AWFUL. If you know a person for a long time you can tell when they are messed up on something and I believe she got what she deserved I’m sorry but it’s true. I have a brother n law sitting in prison right now for the same thing so I’m not stupid I know what it does to people.

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