A man accused of distributing illegal drugs in north Georgia for decades has been sentenced to 30 years on drug trafficking charges in Cherokee County, District Attorney Shannon Wallace announced Monday.

Michael Ray Dye, 43, of Morganton, pled guilty May 14 to trafficking methamphetamine and possession of more than an ounce of marijuana and was sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by 10 on probation.

“The State was prepared to present this case to a Cherokee County jury last week. The defendant ultimately decided to plead guilty and accepted responsibility for his crime immediately before jury selection was set to begin,” Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney David Holmes, who prosecuted the case, said in a news release. “We are pleased with this outcome and the sentence.”

According to the district attorney:

Dye was arrested on Dec. 31, 2018 after the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office received a report that Dye, who was wanted for crimes in Fannin County, was at a shopping center on Cumming Highway in Canton.

CSO deputies quickly detained Dye, who was sitting in the driver’s seat of a black Jeep Wrangler. While speaking with law enforcement, Dye admitted there were illegal narcotics inside the vehicle, where the deputies located 29 grams of methamphetamine and 38 grams of marijuana.

Dye entered his guilty plea, just before jury selection for a trial scheduled May 17. The state recommended a sentence that included a substantial period of incarceration, based on Dye’s prior drug trafficking and possession convictions. The state also filed notice of enhancement of punishment since Dye is a recidivist.

Superior Court Judge David Cannon then sentenced Dye to 30 years with 20 to serve in prison as a recidivist and a fine of $200,000.

“Michael Dye has been distributing drugs in north Georgia for more than 20 years. He has been given the opportunity to stop on many occasions but has instead continued to spread his poison on our streets,” Wallace said. “This sentence sends a clear message that drug trafficking will not be tolerated in Cherokee County.”

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