PENSACOLA â€“ A federal judge sentenced four defendants in a large-scale
methamphetamine trafficking organization operating primarily in Washington County. The
convictions and sentences were announced Thursday, July 27, by Jason R. Coody United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Sentenced in the case were:
- Ashley Michelle Zurica, 43, of Caryville – 220 months in prison
- Ashley Elliot Brown, 41, of Caryville – 180 months in prison
- Donald Eugene Skipper, 55, of Chipley -180 months in prison
- William Keith Carter, 52, of Wausau -168 months in prison
Coody called methamphetamine distribution a â€œscourge on large and small communitiesâ€ in the Thursday statement.
â€œWith our dedicated law enforcement partners, we are committed to identifying and aggressively prosecuting those who threaten our citizensâ€™ health and safety by distributing such addictive, controlled substances,â€ said Coody. â€œThese sentences demonstrate that resolve.â€
The sentences stem from a 2019 investigation launched by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Panama City Resident Office Task Force. The investigation targeted the distribution of multiple kilograms of methamphetamine by Zurica, Brown, Skipper, Carter, and others in Washington County and surrounding areas of North Florida.
Over the course of the three-year investigation, DEA, working with state and local partners, compiled evidence to secure indictments on four federal defendants in the Northern District of Florida in addition to indictments in other federal districts and multiple State of Florida defendants. The investigation led to the seizure of several kilograms of methamphetamine, and the identification of illegal drug sources in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.
â€œOur work with the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s office for the Northern District of Florida and DEA is
resulting in convictions and removing illegal narcotics from our community,â€ said Washington
County Sheriff Kevin Crews.
â€œWe remain committed to working with our federal, local, and
state law enforcement partners to keep these highly addictive and destructive drugs out of our
Community.â€ â€œMethamphetamine is a highly addictive and destructive substance, which can inflict great harm to our communities,â€ said DEA Miami Field Division Special Agent in Charge Deanne L. Reuter. â€œThe success of this investigation is a direct result of the collaboration between the DEA Miami Field Division and our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, working together to keep our communities safe and healthy.â€
This case was a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the
Washington County Sheriffâ€™s Office, Chipley Police Department, the Bay County Sheriffâ€™s
Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Washington County Stateâ€™s
Attorney Office. Assistant United States Attorney Walter Narramore prosecuted the case.
All defendants in the case will be on supervised release when they are eventually released from custody, according to the release.