A Marion man was one of 17 suspects taken in under an eight-month Avery County drug operation, according to reports.

The Avery County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of Operation Rattlesnake, an undercover drug operation which has taken place over the last eight months aiming to “get those spreading poison out from hiding and brought to the light of justice.”

Local and statewide agencies which assisted in the operation include the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office, McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, Boone Police Department, Banner Elk Police Department, Beech Mountain Police Department and the State Bureau of Investigation.

Operation Rattlesnake has been successful in warrants being taken on 30 different people with over 70 charges being brought thus far.

Law enforcement is still trying to apprehend some of those offenders. Those taken into custody were:

- Gary White, 67, of Teal Lane, Newland, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver marijuana.

- Melody Edminson, 46, of Middle Street, Crossnore, trafficking in opium or heroin

- Kassandra Allen, 28, of Swafford Road, Spruce Pine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule II controlled substance.

- Johnathan Warren, 25, of Linville Falls Highway, Newland, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule III controlled substance.

- Joshua Brewer, 34, of West Brewer Road, Newland, two counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule II controlled substance.

- Megan Dear, 24, of Hughes Road, Newland, two counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver marijuana.

- Demi Hicks, 20, of U.S. 19 East, Newland, three counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule III controlled substance and one count of possession to manufacture, sell or deliver marijuana.

- Steven McGee, 26, of N.C. 226 North, Marion, two counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule II controlled substance.

- Michael Turbyfill, 23, of Balm Highway, Banner Elk, possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana.

- Heather Woodie, 27, of Maryland Lane, Spruce Pine, four counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule II controlled substance.

- Douglas Metcalf, age and address unlisted, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver schedule II and III controlled substances and habitual felon.

- William Cook, 51, of Elk River Road, Elk Park, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule II controlled substance.

- Molly Thomas, 44, of Sweetwater Branch, Newland, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver marijuana and harboring a fugitive.

- Tonnie Chandler, 28, of Hide Road, Spruce Pine, conspire to sell a schedule II controlled substance.

- Wendy Wise Ledford, 42, of Stonewood Drive, Spruce Pine, possession with Intent to sell or deliver a schedule IV controlled substance and habitual felon.

- Bridget Mitchell, age and address unlisted, conspire sell a schedule II controlled substance.

- Patricia Zahn, 31, of Stedman Drive, Raleigh, possession with intent to sell or deliver a schedule III controlled substance.

Further charges and arrests are pending, according to the Avery County Sheriff’s Office.

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