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Montgomery County meth conspiracy winds toward close

CHRISTIANSBURG — Two more defendants last week admitted their parts in Montgomery County’s Icy Roads case, a methamphetamine distribution network that reached from Georgia to the New River Valley.

Kelly Belcher Harmon, 50, and Allison Renee Karres, 24, entered guilty pleas in separate hearings in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Prosecutors said that both had sold meth that Thomas George Belcher Jr., 47, obtained in Georgia and brought to Montgomery County and Radford.

Thirty people were charged last year in connection with what investigators called the Icy Roads ring. After more than a year of hearings, 21 defendants have resolved their charges and two more have been convicted but have not yet been sentenced.

Of the 21, all were convicted except two – charges were dropped against one person, and another received a deferred disposition that could result in charges being dropped in two years.

Throughout the hearings, Belcher, of Elliston, has been described as the central figure in Icy Roads. Prosecutors have said that some of the defendants told investigators that Belcher would drive back and forth from Georgia two or three times weekly between November 2018 and January 2020. Belcher’s own account was that he went to Georgia 16 times for meth, getting one to three ounces each time, a prosecutor said earlier this year.

In April, Belcher pleaded guilty to some of the charges against him and was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison.

At Harmon’s plea hearing on Tuesday, Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Patrick Jensen said that Harmon, who accompanied Belcher on some of his trips, told investigators that Belcher would pick up 4 ounces to half a pound of meth each time. Harmon said that some of that meth was then fronted to him and he would sell it to a half dozen or so people in the New River Valley, Jensen said.

Harmon’s two defense attorneys, Chris Tuck and Joel Jackson, both of Blacksburg, agreed that Jensen accurately summarized the prosecution’s evidence.

In a plea agreement that dropped 14 charges, Harmon was convicted of distributing more than 100 grams of meth and was sentenced to 40 years in prison, and of possessing a Schedule II drug, for which he received another six months. Judge Colin Gibb ordered that the sentences run concurrently and that after Harmon served 10 years, the remaining term of incarceration would be suspended for 30 years.

Harmon also was fined $1,000.

After his release, Harmon is to be supervised by the probation office for five years, then to be on unsupervised probation for another five years, Gibb said.

At Karres’ hearing on Monday, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Erin Little said Karres told investigators she sold meth that she got from from her boyfriend, Killian Mackenzie Gwinn, 25, of Christiansburg, who in turn got the drug from Belcher. Gwinn was convicted in the case last month and got a year to serve behind bars.

Karres was convicted of distributing meth and received a 10-year prison sentence, with all of the time to be suspended. Karres is to be supervised by the probation office for five years after her release, Judge Robert Turk said.


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