CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A Hickory man must serve 14 years in prison for his role in trafficking methamphetamine in Catawba and Caldwell counties, according to federal officials.

Joseph William Patton, will go to prison for 168 months by five years of supervised release today for trafficking methamphetamine, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

In court filings and sentencing documentation, the 34-year-old Patton was operating as a major source of supply of methamphetamine in the area. Between April and December 2022, law enforcement conducted a joint investigation into Patton’s drug trafficking activities, including arranging multiple controlled purchases of methamphetamine from the defendant.

Law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on Dec. 12, 2022, involving an expired tag violation and Patton. During that stop in which Patton was a passenger, law enforcement recovered a firearm, $5,448 in cash, and several baggies filled with methamphetamine, fentanyl, and Xanax pills from the vehicle.

On the same day, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Patton’s residence, where they recovered a 9 mm rifle and four magazines.

On July 20, 2023, Patton pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Patton is in federal custody and will enter the federal Bureau of Prisons system upon designation of a federal facility.

The ATF, the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, and the Hickory Police Department conducted the investigation.