The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division partnered with sixteen local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in an investigation that led to the conviction of ten defendants on Friday (August 28) in federal court in Charlotte. Eight of these defendants resided in the Hickory Metro.
This investigation began in March of 2019 and resulted in identifying Cheng “Cam” Yang as the leader of a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy operating in Catawba County. Supplied with high purity meth trafficked in from California, Cheng Yang operated a network in the Hickory Metro aided by defendants to be listed in this story. Yang and his co-conspirators distributed a total of 45 kilograms, a street value of $4 million, between March-September 2019 when they were taken into custody. During the course of this investigation seven firearms, 18.8 pounds of marijuana, four pounds of marijuana wax, 71.28 pounds of meth and $200,890 in U.S. currency were seized.
The eight Hickory Metro residents sentenced in this case are as follows; 34-year-old Cheng “Cam” Yang of Claremont was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release. Relatives of Yang, also Claremont residents, were also sentenced. Yang’s older brother, 35-year-old Peng Yang, was sentenced to 156 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Yang’s younger brother, 21-year-old Nicholas Yang, was sentenced to three years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. And Yang’s aunt, 37-year-old Susan Yang, was sentenced to 42 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
In addition, 38-year-old Cheng “Dawb” Yang of Morganton, who bears no relationship to Cheng “Cam” Yang, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and five years of supervised release. 59-year-old Belden Watson of Rutherford College, N.C., was sentenced to 97 months in prison and five years of supervised release. 30-year-old Rex Eversole of Morganton, was sentenced to 110 months in prison and five years of supervised release. And 30-year-old Ashley Vaught of Lenoir, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and two years of supervised release.
The sixteen agencies involved in this investigation included the Hickory, Long View, and Newton Police Departments. In addition, the Alexander, Burke, and Caldwell County Sheriff’s Offices, and the Morganton Department of Public Safety were involved, along with other regional, state and federal agencies.[Photos courtesy of Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, top row L-R: Cheng “Cam” Yang, Peng Yang, Nicholas Yang, Susan Yang, bottom row L-R: Belden Watson, Rex Eversole, Ashley Vaught. Not pictured: Cheng “Dawb” Yang.]