A man from outside of Virginia could face time in federal prison after pleading guilty to playing a role in a methamphetamine distribution ring in the Winchester area.

Adam Richard Kimball, 43, with ties to California and South Dakota, pleaded guilty this week in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg to charges of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and possession of the drug with the intent to distribute, Acting U.S. District Attorney Daniel P. Bubar announced Thursday. Kimball faces sentencing on Feb. 2. Shenandoah County Circuit Court records for his active local charges show Kimball has a Linden address.

Co-defendant John Thomas O’Donnell, 52, of Winchester, pleaded guilty in May to charges for his role in the illegal drug distribution conspiracy and faces sentencing on Nov. 12. Co-defendant Jerry Wayne Duncan Jr., 40, of Beckley, West Virginia, pleaded guilty to his charges in September and faces sentencing on Jan. 7.

Kimball appeared in court where he waived his right to face indictment. Instead, Kimball pleaded guilty to a two-count “information” that charged him with one count of conspiring with others to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine and 500 grams or more of a substance containing a detectable amount of the same drug, and one count of possession of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, according to a news release from the federal prosecutor’s office.

Court documents state that Kimball conspired with others to have large amounts of methamphetamine shipped into Virginia from sources outside of the state to various addresses in the Winchester area using the U.S. Postal Service. Once they had the methamphetamine, members of the conspiracy, including Duncan and O’Donnell, moved the drugs to other locations and prepared the methamphetamines to distribute to users, according to court documents.

Kimball played an active role as a member of the conspiracy beginning in early 2019, the court documents state. He hooked up his co-conspirators with an out-of-state supply source that could distribute large amounts of methamphetamine. Kimball and his co-conspirators used a residence in the Winchester area as their base of operations, according to authorities.

Kimball played a role in arranging the delivery of methamphetamine from his supplier, wiring payment to the source, and participated in selling the methamphetamine, according to court documents.

The investigation began as a Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force case in the Front Royal area, agency coordinator Josh Price said by phone Thursday. The task force includes agents assigned by area law enforcement agencies.

“The investigation really kind of began with the Warren County-Front Royal section of the task force,” Price said.

Taskforce agents working in the Front Royal area discovered co-conspirators with connections to the methamphetamine distribution ring who were arrested and charged, Price said, adding that agents for that area conducted controlled purchases of drugs and interviewed alleged co-conspirators. These arrests, he explained, led investigators to people higher up in the drug operation. Agents determined that Kimball served as the source of methamphetamine to at least one of the co-conspirators, Price said.

“So then that was when the Warren County-Front Royal section of the task force just said, ‘well, since we’ve crossed over into outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia it would be good for the Drug Enforcement Administration to become involved,’ and they did, so that’s when they began assisting us in our investigation and vice versa,” Price said.

The DEA learned that Kimball lived outside of Virginia, but he eventually moved to the region, Price said. Kimball maintained his suppliers and continued to have large amounts of methamphetamine shipped to the region, Price added.

A statement of facts filed in Duncan’s case indicates that O’Donnell’s primary role was to receive shipments of methamphetamine at his residence and deliver packages to another member of the conspiracy. Duncan’s primary role was to then distribute methamphetamine, according to the statement. Law enforcement officers surveilled the delivery of a package sent from California to O’Donnell’s address on Springdale Road near Stephens City on Oct. 19, 2019, the statement reads.

Officers again watched the delivery of a package sent from California to O’Donnell on Oct. 22, according to the statement. An undercover officer delivered the package and then O’Donnell and his wife, not named in the statement, took the package and got in their car with the intention of delivering the package containing methamphetamine to another member of the conspiracy, according to the document.

When officers tried to stop O’Donnell, he stopped briefly to let his wife out of the car before leading authorities on a chase that ended when he crashed, the statement reads. O’Donnell ran a stop sign and reached speeds of 80 mph in a 55-mph zone. Hel tried to flee the scene on foot and, as an officer followed him around the corner of a nearby house, the suspect turned toward the officer and brandished a firearm, according to the statement.

The officer used a Taser to stun and subdue O’Donnell, the statement reads. O’Donnell later admitted he ran because he was scared. He also later admitted that he worked for co-conspirators, that he received a package with methamphetamine on Oct. 22, 2019, and that he received one package a week prior that he was to deliver to a co-conspirator’s house on Sager Hollow Drive.

Officers searched O’Donnell’s car and collected smoking devices, methamphetamine, a U.S. Postal Service package, a box of ammunition and a firearm magazine also containing ammunition. Laboratory analysis showed that the methamphetamine seized from the car weighed 447 grams and the actual methamphetamine weighed 433 grams.

Conspirators initially received 1 or 2 ounces of methamphetamine each week. The amount increased over time to quarter-pound purchases, 1-pound buys, and ultimately multiple pounds of the drug, authorities have said. Kimball played a role in receiving and distributing at least 2 kilograms of methamphetamine, court documents show.

The DEA, the U.S. Postal Service, the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and the Strasburg Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeb Terrien is prosecuting the case.

– Contact Alex Bridges at abridges@nvdaily.com