Eight people will go to federal prison after pleading guilty to roles in a Surry County methamphetamine trafficking operation, authorities said Friday.

With a two-year investigation dubbed “Operation Thin Ice” by authorities, the Surry County Sheriff’s Office, Mount Airy Police Department, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security said investigators were able to account for 700 to 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine distributed in Surry County, according to federal court records and the Surry County Sheriff’s Office.

Federal court documents show a drug ring within Surry County and the southeastern United States, including a main distributor in Atlanta. In addition to the methamphetamine, authorities seized multiple weapons in the operation, including multiple shotguns, rifles and handguns.

A ninth defendant, Kathy Lee Branscom, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in March, according to federal court records, with the condition that she would serve at least 10 years in prison. However, Branscom suffered from terminal kidney and liver disease, and was released from custody to go to hospice care, where she later died, according to court records.

Eight people pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

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