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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

 

February 10, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Three Arrested on Heroin Charges
Law Enforcement Officers Seeking Arrest of Fourth Individual

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA — Three individuals were arrested today (February 10, 2009) by law enforcement officers and a fourth individual is being sought on federal arrest warrants stemming from an Indictment returned by a Federal Grand Jury sitting in Wheeling, West Virginia, on February 3, 2009.

United States Attorney Sharon L. Potter announced that DONALD GASCHLER, age 40, and SHELLY GASCHLER, age 36, both of Follansbee, West Virginia; and JESSE TALERICO, age 22, of Steubenville, Ohio, were arrested today on heroin-related charges contained in a five-count Indictment. ROBERT LLEWELYN, age 22, of Steubenville, and KENNETH SALTERS, age 19, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were both named in the Indictment and are currently in custody on unrelated charges. Law enforcement authorities are seeking the arrest of LONNIE ANTHONY SMITH, also known as TIMMY, age 21, of Pittsburgh.

Count One of the Indictment alleges that SMITH, SALTERS, DONALD GASCHLER, SHELLY GASCHLER, TALERICO, and LLEWELYN conspired to possess with intent to distribute and distribute more than one kilogram of heroin from January 2002 to February 3, 2009, in and around the Weirton area and elsewhere in the Northern District of West Virginia.

SMITH is named in two additional counts of the Indictment. Count Two of the Indictment alleges that SMITH aided and abetted and caused travel by a person known to the grand jury from Weirton to Robinson Township, Pennsylvania, to facilitate a business enterprise involving heroin on September 26, 2008. Count Three of the Indictment alleges that SMITH caused a telephone to be used in the distribution of heroin on September 26, 2008, in Weirton.

Count Four of the Indictment alleges that TALERICO and LLEWELYN, aided and abetted by each other, possessed heroin with the intent to distribute on December 30, 2008, in Weirton.

Count Five of the Indictment alleges that DONALD GASCHLER, having previously been convicted of delivery of marijuana in the Circuit Court of Brooke County, knowingly possessed numerous firearms and ammunition on December 4, 2008, in Follansbee.

The Indictment also carries a forfeiture allegation wherein the United States seeks to forfeit any property that was used to commit the crimes alleged in the Indictment and any real or personal property that was derived from proceeds traceable to the offenses. In addition, the United States seeks to forfeit the firearms subject to Count Five of the Indictment and other property to include: a sum of money equal to $500,000 in United States currency, representing the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the offense; $5,000 in United States currency seized on June 13, 2008; and $795.00 in United States currency taken from SALTERS upon his arrest in June 2008.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 10 years to life imprisonment on Count One of the Indictment; a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on Count Two of the Indictment; a maximum penalty of four years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on Count Three of the Indictment; a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000 on Count Four of the Indictment; and a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on Count Five of the Indictment.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randolph J. Bernard. The case was investigated by the Hancock/Brooke/Weirton Drug & Violent Crime Task Force;
the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pennsylvania State Police; the Steubenville, Ohio, Police Department; the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department; the Weirton Street Crimes Unit, and the Pittsburgh Police Department.

The Hancock/Brooke/Weirton Drug & Violent Crime Task Force consists of officers from the Weirton Police Department, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department, the Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, 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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