Nationwide, the government is cracking down on the growing meth crisis.
Ronald Scronce, a 65-year-old man from Lincolnton, North Carolina has been sentenced to 168 months in prison and five years of supervised release for trafficking methamphetamine. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell appointed to his post by former U.S. President Donald Trump as part of a nationwide crackdown on meth dealers.
As stated in filed documents and court proceedings, in July 2019, Scronce was under supervision after being released for a state drug trafficking conviction when officers conducted a search at his residence, finding and seizing an undetermined amount of the drug. Sometime between July and August of last year, while continuing to investigate, law enforcement also came to realize Scronce had sold heroin and methamphetamine multiple times over the summer months leading up to his final arrest. During their search, the officers also seized cash and two firearms which were found just sitting beside him, and it was noted that Scronce was brazen enough to make Facebook posts referencing violence against any “snitches” as well as “travelling to the beach” for the purpose of selling drugs.
On February 2nd, 2022, Scronce pleaded guilty to “conspiracy charges and three counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine,” according to court records. His previous convictions led to him being classified as a “Career Offender.” These included “robbery while armed with dangerous weapons, selling/delivering morphine (a felony), and attempted trafficking in methamphetamine pills.”
As part of the same crackdown on meth dealers, a Washington man, James Gonzalez, 30, was also sentenced this month to ten years behind bars for selling meth. He sold two pounds of the drug to an undercover source in 2020, once bringing his small child with him, according to court documents. Three pistols, an ounce of cocaine, a handwritten notebook with money laundering instructions, a scale and $14,805 were also seized “from the home he shared with his mother, his significant other and two small children,” documents state.
“This case involved both large scale methamphetamine distribution as well (as) the possession of several firearms in furtherance of Mr. Gonzales’s drug trafficking organization,” said U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref after the sentence was handed down.
The Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have recently issued warnings (along with other federal and state agencies) suggesting that methamphetamine use in on the rise. Perhaps most frightening is that drug dealers are mixing into the supply dangerous opioids such as heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers, among other options. Oftentimes, users who purchase meth are not aware that they are not buying a pure supply of the drug. Therefore, overdose rates and fatalities involving meth are on the rise and these drug combinations are contributing to the ongoing opioid epidemic. As demand increases, dealers having also been mixing in more and more deadly options, including the potent animal sedative xylazine. This will only serve to increase the death toll.