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OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA

Sharon L. Potter
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY


1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist

 


April 8, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Two St. Clairsville, Ohio, Residents
Indicted on Cocaine Charges

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA — Two St. Clairsville, Ohio, residents were named in an Indictment returned on April 7, 2009, by a Federal Grand Jury sitting in Wheeling, West Virginia.

United States Attorney Sharon L. Potter announced that RAYMOND LEE PRAYEAR, SR., age 57, and MARIANNE HEPE, age 48, were named in an 11-count Indictment. Count One of the Indictment alleges that PRAYEAR and HEPE conspired to distribute cocaine from March 4, 2009, to March 25, 2009, in Wheeling, West Virginia.

PRAYEAR was named in seven additional counts of the Indictment. Counts Two, Five, and Nine allege that PRAYEAR used the public telephone system to distribute cocaine and to conspire to distribute cocaine on March 4, 2009; on March 5, 2009; and on March 25, 2009. Counts Four and Ten allege that he distributed cocaine on March 5, 2009, and on Mach 25, 2009, in Wheeling. Count Eleven alleges that PRAYEAR possessed cocaine with the intent to distribute on March 25, 2009. Count Eight alleges that PRAYEAR distributed cocaine within 1,000 feet of Madison School in Wheeling on March 5, 2009.

HEPE was named in five additional counts of the Indictment. Counts Three and Seven allege that HEPE traveled in interstate commerce between St. Clairsville, Ohio, and Wheeling, West Virginia, with the intent to conspire to distribute cocaine on two occasions on March 5, 2009. Count Four alleges that HEPE distributed cocaine on March 5, 2009, in Wheeling. Count Six alleges that HEPE used the public telephone system to distribute cocaine and to conspire to distribute cocaine on March 5, 2009. Count Eight alleges that she distributed cocaine within 1,000 feet of Madison School in Wheeling on March 5, 2009.

The Indictment also includes a Forfeiture Allegation wherein the United States intends to seek at sentencing the forfeiture of $3,745.00 in United States currency seized from PRAYEAR on March 25, 2009, in Wheeling.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000 each on Counts One, Four, Ten, and Eleven; a maximum penalty of four years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 each on Counts Two, Five, Six, and Nine; a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 each on Counts Three and Seven; and a maximum penalty of 40 years imprisonment and a fine of $2,000,000 on Count Eight of the Indictment.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John C. Parr. The case was investigated by the Ohio Valley Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Task Force consists of officers from the Wheeling Police Department, the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

It should be noted that the charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and not evidence of guilt, and that each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

 

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