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82 people charged as investigators dismantle fentanyl drug trafficking network in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle

MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Eighty-two people have been indicted by a federal grand jury for a drug trafficking operation that distributed fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine in the Eastern Panhandle.

The United States Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that an indictment was unsealed, charging individuals from Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia with drug trafficking. According to court documents, Gary Bernard Brown, Jr., also known as “Gee,” age 38, of Baltimore, Maryland, supplied others with large quantities of fentanyl capsules and powder for redistribution in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties. The investigation yielded 10 kilograms of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, firearms, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets.

“In a coordinated effort across three states, the FBI and our partners worked seamlessly to degrade the capabilities of a criminal enterprise that endangered the lives of our children and neighbors by pedaling illegal narcotics into our communities,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Mike Shanahan of the FBI-Pittsburgh Division. “Today, their illicit activities came to an end.”

After a large-scale arrest operation in the region, 11 of the 82 defendants are still at-large. Investigators are searching for:

  • Charles Delroy Singletary, age 43, of Baltimore, Maryland
  • Jeffrey Lee Pullen, age 52, of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
  • Benjamin Paul Knotts, age 48, of Charles Town, West Virginia
  • Haile Madalynn Speaks, age 21, of Charles Town, West Virginia
  • James Sanford, age 39, of Martinsburg, West Virginia
  • John Ernest LeCluse, age 39, of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
  • Shelby Elizabeth Thompson, age 29, of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
  • April Dawn Wentzell, age 36, of Ranson, West Virginia
  • Daniel Lee Corbin, Jr., age 35, of Martinsburg, West Virginia
  • Kendall Axavier Baker, age 31, of Winchester Virginia
  • David Lewis Pennington, Jr., age 20, of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

If you have any information, call 1-877-926-8332 or go to https://www.usmarshals.gov.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Omps-Botteicher is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.

This case was a collaborative investigative effort that includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Pittsburgh Field Division, Baltimore Field Division, and Richmond Field Division); the Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations; the United States Postal Inspection Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the United States Marshals Service;  the Eastern Panhandle Drug Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative; the West Virginia State Police; the West Virginia Air National Guard; the Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office; the Berkeley County Sherriff’s Office; Ranson Police Department; Martinsburg Police Department; Charles Town Police Department; the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office;  Stafford County Sherriff’s Office (Virginia); Frederick County Sherriff’s Office (Maryland); Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (Virginia); Winchester Police Department; and the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office (Virginia).

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

List of defendants: www.justice.gov/usao-ndwv/us-v-gary-brown-jr-et-al-defendant-list

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