Five individuals, including one West Virginia resident, recently pleaded guilty to drug charges for taking part in an oxycodone distribution ring in north central West Virginia. The pleas were announced by federal prosecutors.
According to media reports, the defendants distributed over 500,000 oxycodone pills in Monongalia County between 2013 and 2017. One of the defendants, a 47-year-old Detroit man, pleaded guilty to 19 counts of distribution of oxycodone, 11 counts of aiding and abetting the distribution of oxycodone, one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and one count of distribution of cocaine base. Another defendant, a 39-year-old Detroit woman, pleaded guilty to a single count of maintaining a drug-involved premises. Two more Detroit men, ages 27 and 47, pleaded guilty to single counts of distribution of oxycodone. The fifth defendant, a 37-year-old Westover woman, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
A total of 34 people have been arrested in connection with the drug ring. Of those, 33 have already pleaded guilty. If convicted, most of the defendants could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison and assessed fines of up to $1 million. The case was investigated by the Mon Metro Drug and Violent Crime Drug Task Force, which consists of law enforcement officers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, and multiple state and local law enforcement agencies.
Individuals charged with drug offenses could have several solid defense options to choose from. After reviewing the evidence, a criminal defense attorney might find grounds to challenge the prosecution’s case, which could cause the charges to be dismissed. It might also be possible for legal counsel to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charges, which may lead to a more lenient sentence.