9 face charges following 7-month narcotics investigation in WNC

Crime Tracker

Anthony Ellison and Theodus Laray Hammond (Source: Buncombe Co. Sheriff’s Office)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation officials said nine people were arrested after officers seized more than 19 kilograms of fentanyl during a seven-month narcotics investigation in western North Carolina.

SBI officials said the primary targets of the investigation, Theodus Laray Hammond, 25, and Anthony Corderra Ellison, 33, allegedly conspired to distribute “kilogram quantities of fentanyl” in Asheville and surrounding areas. Officials said the two also utilized “a large network of associates” to distribute the drugs.

While executing search warrants in Buncombe and Mecklenburg counties on March 4, officers seized approximately 5.49 kilograms of fentanyl, 13 guns, more than $800,000 in cash, numerous high-end vehicles and jewelry, according to SBI officials.

In total, SBI officials said officers seized more than 19 kilograms of fentanyl during the investigation.

The following people have been charged:

Theodus Hammond

  • Continuing criminal enterprise
  • Seven counts of conspiracy to traffic opium/heroin (Level III)

Anthony Ellison

  • Continuing criminal enterprise
  • Five counts of conspiracy to traffic opium/heroin (Level III)

Demond Hammond

  • Continuing criminal enterprise
  • Conspiracy to traffic opium/heroin (Level III)

Michael Shands

  • Continuing criminal enterprise
  • Conspiracy to traffic cocaine (Level I)

Tyquan Ward

  • Continuing criminal enterprise
  • Conspiracy to traffic opium/heroin (Level III)

Ray Ailes

  • Continuing criminal enterprise

Tahja Finley

  • Continuing criminal enterprise

Gabe Hogan

  • Continuing criminal enterprise
  • Two counts of conspiracy to traffic opium/heroin (Level III)

Devone Maceo James

  • Continuing criminal enterprise
  • Conspiracy to traffic opium/heroin (Level III)

According to the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, Theodus Hammond was released on a $50,000 bond. Anthony Ellison was released on a $300,000 bond.

SBI officials said Asheville Police Department, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and numerous other agencies assisted with the investigation.

7 News is working to get the remaining mug shots.

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