Defendants get prison time following trafficking investigation
Eight people charged in Haywood County with trafficking and possessing illegal drugs are now serving active time in state prison, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said.
The defendants all pleaded guilty late last month in Haywood County Superior Court, with Judge Gary Gavenus presiding.
Here’s what happened:
• Robin Morris Baldwin Jr., 41, of Swannanoa, was arrested Dec. 1, 2022, at Exit 105 west on I-40 near Clyde. The car’s dark, tinted windows caught the attention of Haywood County Deputy William Brigham. Baldwin consented to a search of the vehicle, and deputies found a broken methamphetamine pipe and methamphetamine. Baldwin pleaded guilty to possess methamphetamine and habitual felon. He received 30-48 months in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Kate Robinette prosecuted the case.
• Michael Shawn Brown, 32, of Asheville, was arrested Jan. 31, 2023, at Exit 33 on I-40 after Deputy Hayden Green pulled a vehicle over for traffic violations. Deputies discovered fentanyl during the subsequent search. Brown pleaded guilty to trafficking opiates. He received 70-93 months in prison and must pay a mandatory $50,000 fine. Assistant District Attorney Jeff Jones prosecuted the case.
• Charles “Chuck” Winfred Bryson Jr., 55, of Waynesville was arrested three times within four months on charges connected with illegal drugs. On July 9, 2023, on New Clyde Highway, Deputy Green stopped a vehicle in Clyde for speeding. Methamphetamine was discovered in Bryson’s pocket. On Oct. 13, 2022, Deputy Brigham observed Bryson leaving a suspected drug house on Georgia Avenue; Detective Sgt. Jordan Reagan then stopped the vehicle for ignoring a stop sign. A subsequent search uncovered methamphetamine. On Oct. 20, following another traffic stop involving Bryson, this time on Asheville Highway, deputies found methamphetamine in the car. Bryson pleaded guilty to three counts of possess methamphetamine and three counts of habitual felon. He received two consecutive sentences for 30-48 months, with a total active sentence of 60-96 months in prison. Assistant District Attorney Jones prosecuted the case.
• Cassarah Ensley, 29, of Sylva, was arrested March 2 of this year in Canton, following a previous arrest on Dec. 29, 2022, also in Canton, with Deputy Green receiving backup from Deputy Joshua Watts. Ensley pleaded guilty to possession of fentanyl and trafficking in methamphetamine. She received 70-93 months in prison and must pay a mandatory $50,000 fine. Assistant District Attorney Jones prosecuted the case.
• Hunter Goodson, 26, of Waynesville, was arrested on illegal drug charges at his home subsequent to a search warrant. He pleaded guilty to possession of fentanyl and, in a separate case, trafficking in opiates (fentanyl). Goodson received 70- 93 month in prison and must pay a $50,000 fine. Assistant District Attorney Jones prosecuted the case. The lead detective was Waynesville Police Officer Cody Corn.
• Teresa Spencer, 61, of Candler, was arrested Nov. 12, 2022, at a Maggie Valley motel after illegal drugs were discovered in a joint operation involving Maggie Valley Police Department and Haywood County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement officers who were involved included Maggie Valley Police Chief Matt Boger and David Stoller, Sgt. Reagan and Craig Campbell of Haywood County Sheriff’s Office. She pleaded guilty to trafficking in methamphetamine and to trafficking in opiates (fentanyl). Spencer received two sentences for 70-93 months, running concurrently, and must pay mandatory fines totaling $100,000. Assistant District Attorney Jones prosecuted the case.
• Baron Houston Sutton, 37, of Maggie Valley was arrested June 8, 2023, following surveillance of a residence. A search of the residence uncovered illegal drugs. He pleaded guilty to trafficking opiates (fentanyl). Sutton received 70 to 93 months in prison and must pay a mandatory $50,000 fine. Assistant District Attorney Robinette prosecuted the case. Deputy Brigham and Sgt. Reagan were the lead officers.
• John Williamson, 32, of Franklin, was arrested Feb. 26, 2023, following a traffic stop on Jones Cove Road by Deputy Alexander Ladin. A trained drug dog alerted deputies to the presence of illegal drugs. Williamson pleaded guilty to trafficking methamphetamine. He received 70-93 months in prison and must pay a $50,000 fine. Assistant District Attorney Jones prosecuted the case.