A Sylva woman is serving federal prison time following a conviction that stemmed from a Jackson County Sheriff’s Office arrest for drug trafficking. On May 19, U.S. Chief District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced Ashley Kay Heatherly, 35, to serve 57 months in prison and five years of supervised release for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, Jackson County Sheriff Chip Hall said.
Deputies arrested Heatherly on July 2, 2020, for trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of a controlled substance on jail premises after a suspicious vehicle call at Catamount Travel Center in Cullowhee. Sheriff Hall said during the investigation deputies found evidence of methamphetamine being used. After Heatherly was transported to the Jackson County Detention Center, deputies found more methamphetamine in her possession, resulting in the charge of possessing a controlled substance on jail premises.
On Feb. 16, 2021, the U.S. District Court of the Western District of NC, Asheville Division, issued a federal warrant. Heatherly was arrested March 1, 2021. She pleaded guilty on Dec. 23, 2021, and remained in federal custody until this month’s sentencing. Thomas Kent of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.