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10 charged in NE Alabama meth ring run by 2 prisoners

WMBF TV, July 20, 2015

GADSDEN, AL (WAFF) - Two illegal immigrants serving time in Georgia state prisons and using contraband cell phones directed at least eight people in northeastern Alabama and Chattanooga to carry out a conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, announced federal and local officials Monday.

U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said eight people now face a federal indictment that they conspired to traffic 50 grams or more of meth in Cleburne, Etowah, Marshall and DeKalb counties from December 2013 through May 2015. A ninth individual faces a separate distribution count in the indictment.

Melissa Nicasio, 28, of Chattanooga, is charged with one count of conspiring with Morales between March and April to distribute 50 grams or more of meth in Etowah and DeKalb counties.

Three of the defendants were arrested in July. Of the remaining six, one was already in federal custody. The other five are in jails or state prisons in Georgia and Alabama.

DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris said it's always good when drugs of this nature are taken off the street.

"I think it's great that this many people come together, get this much poundage off the streets, and it's in an evidence locker and not in somebody's system right now," Harris said.

A 10th defendant, Thomas Watson Smith, 39, of Rome, GA, was charged in April with one count of possession with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of methamphetamine in Cherokee County in August 2014. Smith pleaded guilty June 30 and will be sentenced on October 14.

Sheriff Harris said he anticipates more arrests will be made.