Meth man gets 11 years in prison

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Jason Hyland, 39, of Duplin County, was sentenced Wednesday to 11 years and two months in prison for crimes involving methamphetamine distribution after a traffic stop in Newton Grove.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents working with Duplin County narcotics detectives got a tip that Hyland and Ashely Shakelford were traveling to Atlanta on June 30 to pick up two pounds of methamphetamine, according to evidence presented in court. They would be returning to Eastern North Carolina with the drugs, prosecutors said.

DEA agents and Sampson County Sheriff’s Office detectives reportedly stopped the two on their way home in Newton Grove on July 1. Prosecutors say Shakelford was driving and Hyland was a passenger when detectives brought out a K-9 to sniff the car. The four-legged officer alerted to the odor of narcotics, according to court records.

“Detectives searched the car and found more than a kilogram and a half of methamphetamine. During the investigation, law enforcement discovered that between May and June 2020, Hyland made approximately eight trips to Georgia to pick up methamphetamine,” according to a release from U.S. Attorney G. Norman Acker III. “Hyland had distributed methamphetamine to Virginia and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Hyland was responsible for distributing approximately 6 kilograms of methamphetamine.”

Shakelford was previously sentenced in federal court to seven-and-a-half years in prison for her role.

Hyland was convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing meth and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing meth.

This prosecution was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force operation, according to Acker’s release. The task force aims to identify, disrupt and dismantle the highest-level criminal organizations threatening the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

Sheriff’s offices in Craven, Duplin, New Hanover and Sampson County assisted in the investigation along with the Mount Olive Police Department, the DEA and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Severo prosecuted the case.

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