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Albemarle opioid distributor sentenced to federal prison

An Albemarle man has been sentenced to federal prison for charges involving heroin and fentanyl distribution, Matthew G.T. Martin, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, announced.

Zannie Jay Lotharp, 35, was found guilty by a jury on March 11 of one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl, and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin.

On Thursday, Lotharp was sentenced by United States District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder to 300 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.

Evidence introduced at trial showed that Lotharp and another person used two Stanly County residences on the same street for opioid distribution activity. The narcotics were kept at one house and sold from another house on Washington Lane in Albemarle. After a state search warrant was executed on Oct. 19, 2018, for both Washington Lane locations, Lotharp was arrested by state authorities but released on bond. Following his release, Lotharp again sold heroin on Jan. 15, 2019.

“This sentence sends a clear message: dealing opioids does not pay. We are working hard
to address the opioid epidemic,” said U.S. Attorney Matt Martin. “Stanly County is now a safer place, thanks to the fine work of the law enforcement and prosecutors involved in this case.”

A co-defendant, Shonteya Christina Harris, 34, from Albemarle, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl and was sentenced on Oct. 19, to 40 months imprisonment and a three-year term of supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Albemarle Police Department, Stanly County Sheriff’s
Office, Oakboro Police Department, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole R. DuPré and Tanner Kroeger for the Middle District of North Carolina.