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home : news : law enforcement October 26, 2020

8/29/2020 8:13:00 PM
Eight Catawba Valley Residents Sentenced To Federal Prison
(Top Row L-R): Cheng “Cam” Yang, Peng Yang, Nicholas Yang, Susan Yang(Bottom Row L-R): Austin Litchfield, Belden Watson, Rex Eversole, Ashley Vaught
(Photos Courtesy Catawba County Sheriff's Office)

(Top Row L-R): Cheng “Cam” Yang,
Peng Yang, Nicholas Yang, Susan Yang

(Bottom Row L-R): Austin Litchfield,
Belden Watson, Rex Eversole, Ashley Vaught

(Photos Courtesy Catawba County Sheriff's Office)


Catawba County Sheriff's Office
Press Release


NEWTON, N.C. - The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division partnered with 16 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in an investigation which has led to the conviction of 10 defendants on Friday, August 28, 2020 in federal court in Charlotte. Eight of these defendants resided in the Catawba Valley.

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 methamphetamine trafficked in from California, Cheng Yang operated a network in the Catawba Valley aided by the other defendants listed below. 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, 4-pounds of marijuana wax,71.28 pounds of methamphetamine and $200,890 in United States currency were seized. 

  • Cheng “Cam” Yang, 34, of Claremont, N.C., was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release.
  • Cheng “Cam” Yang’s brother, Peng Yang, 35, of Claremont, N.C, was sentenced to 156 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
  • Cheng “Cam” Yang’s younger brother, Nicholas Yang, 21, of Claremont, N.C., was sentenced to three years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
  • Cheng “Cam” Yang’s aunt, Susan Yang, 37, of Claremont, N.C., was sentenced to 42 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
  • Cheng “Dawb” Yang, 38, of Morganton, N.C., who bears no familial relationship to Cheng “Cam” Yang, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
  • Austin Litchfield, 31, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years of supervised release.
  • Randy Martinez, 27, also of Los Angeles, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
  • Belden Watson, 59, of Rutherford College, N.C., was sentenced to 97 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
  • Rex Eversole, 30, of Morganton, was sentenced to 110 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
  • Ashley Vaught, 30, of Lenoir, N.C., was sentenced to 30 months in prison and two years of supervised release.


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The following agencies were involved in this investigation: Immigration Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Charlotte; Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Charlotte Field Office; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Charlotte; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) in Charlotte; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI); Alexander County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO); Burke County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO); Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office(CCSO); Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO); Hickory Police Department (HPD); Mooresville Police Department (MPD); Newton Police Department (NPD); Longview Police Department(LVPD); Huntersville Police Department(HPD); Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department(CMPD) and Morganton Department of Public Safety(MDPS).

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina prosecuted these cases.

Sheriff Brown: “This is another significant blow to narcotics traffickers in the Catawba Valley. Our partnerships with these law enforcement agencies greatly enhance our ability to take drugs and criminals off of our streets”.


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