ASHEVILLE – Shannon White, 44, of Bryson City, was sentenced to 21 years in prison on Thursday, May 27 for distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death, announced William T. Stetzer, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
In addition to the prison term imposed, Chief U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger ordered White to serve three under court supervision after she is released from prison. Sheriff Curtis A. Cochran of the Swain County Sheriff’s Office and Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which oversees the Asheville Post of Duty, join Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer in making Thursday’s announcement.
According to evidence presented at Shannon’s trial, witness testimony and documents filed in the case, White was involved in the distribution of narcotics in an around Jackson and Swain Counties. Trial evidence established that on Jan. 27, 2019, a victim, identified in court documents as J.F., ordered heroin from White. White agreed to supply the heroin to J.F. and supplied him with a substance that White believed to be heroin, but turned out to be fentanyl.
According to trial testimony, J.F.’s use of the fentanyl resulted in J.F.’s overdose death. According to trial evidence, White continued to sell narcotics even after she became aware of the J.F.’s death, and falsely accused two other individuals of committing the crime.
“White peddled fentanyl, a highly toxic drug that resulted in a fatal overdose, and brazenly continued to distribute the lethal opioid even after she learned of the victim’s death,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer. “White’s 21-year sentence imposed by the Court reflects the severity of her conduct and the detrimental role drug dealers play in spreading deadly substances that plague communities and cause tragic deaths. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work closely with our law enforcement and community partners to combat the opioid epidemic.”
Special Agent in Charge Murphy said, “The death involved in this investigation underscores the seriousness of our country’s dependence on prescription opioids. In this case, the victim’s life was cut short, after consuming what turned out to be a deadly dose of fentanyl. Consequently, White will spend well-deserved time in federal prison. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to expend our time, energy and resources in an effort to stem the tide against the opioid epidemic.”
Sheriff Cochran said, “The Swain County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to be a part of this investigation to bring this person to justice. We hope this brings some closure to the family of the victim in this case. We will continue to fight the drug problem in Swain County and will aggressively pursue anyone who sells or gives drugs to anyone that causes their death.”
White is currently in custody. She will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. In making today’s announcement Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer commended the Swain County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA in Asheville for their investigation of this case and thanked the FBI and the Cherokee Indian Police Department for their invaluable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Kent, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville, prosecuted the case.
– U.S. Dept. of Justice release