A federal jury in Asheville has convicted Shannon White, 43, of Bryson City, of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran and Robert Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which oversees the Asheville Post of Duty, join U.S. Attorney Murray in making the announcement.

According to filed court documents, witness testimony and evidence presented at trial, White, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and resident of the Cherokee Indian Reservation, was involved in the distribution of narcotics in an around Jackson and Swain counties.

Trial evidence established that on Jan. 27, 2019, a victim, identified in court documents as “J.F.,” ordered heroin from White. White agreed to supply the heroin to J.F. and supplied him with a substance that White believed to be heroin, but that turned out to be fentanyl. According to trial testimony, J.F.’s use of the fentanyl resulted in J.F.’s overdose death.

According to evidence presented at trial, White continued to sell narcotics even after she became aware of the J.F.’s death, as well as falsely accused several other individuals of committing the crime.

White is currently in custody. At sentencing, the charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. 

In making the announcement U.S. Attorney Murray commended the Swain County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA in Asheville for their investigation of this case, and thanked the FBI and the Cherokee Indian Police Department for their “invaluable assistance.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Kent, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville, is prosecuting the case.