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
July 14, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Two Men Sentenced for Running Crack Cocaine Ring from Morgantown Apartment
ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA — Two former Morgantown, West Virginia, residents were sentenced on July 9, 2009, in United States District Court in Elkins by Chief Judge John Preston Bailey.
United States Attorney Sharon L. Potter announced that: LARRY SELLERS, age 28, of Morgantown and BRANDON PUGH, age 26, of Columbus, Ohio, were sentenced to prison for their roles in a cocaine ring responsible for distributing multiple ounces of cocaine base (“crack”) in Morgantown during early 2008. Following a February 2009 bench trial in Clarksburg, both SELLERS and PUGH were convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute more than five grams of crack cocaine from April to May of 2008, and Possession with Intent to Distribute more than five grams of crack cocaine on May 8, 2008. SELLERS was also convicted of Maintaining a Drug-involved Premise at his Morgantown apartment. Chief Judge Bailey made a finding that SELLERS was a leader of the drug distribution ring and was a career offender, having three burglary convictions on record, and therefore sentenced SELLERS to 292 months (24.3 years) imprisonment to be followed by four (4) years of supervised release.
BRANDON PUGH was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment to be followed by four (4) years of supervised release. Chief Judge Bailey noted that PUGH’s sentence was increased due to a finding that he had lied during trial testimony.
The prosecution resulted from a three-month long investigation headed by the Mon Valley Drug Task Force. SELLERS, originally from Columbus, Ohio, moved to Morgantown and began distributing crack cocaine from his apartment to certain individuals, including Ashley Adkins. By early February of 2008, Adkins and others began selling crack for SELLERS. (Adkins pled guilty and was sentenced to 41 months imprisonment).
During the investigation, the Mon Valley Drug Task Force made five controlled purchases of crack cocaine in April and May of 2008 from SELLERS and his associates, all taking place inside SELLERS’ apartment in Morgantown. On May 8, 2008, agents executed a search warrant at the apartment and found BRANDON PUGH present. PUGH had just provided Adkins with $190 worth of crack cocaine to sell. During the search, agents found $4,231 of drug proceeds, including recorded “buy money” used by the task force in a controlled purchase, an ounce of crack cocaine with a street value of $3,000 and 1 ½ ounces of marijuana. When police reviewed PUGH’s cell phone, they found 24 pictures of the drugs and money. The Court ordered the forfeiture of the $4,231 in drug proceeds.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John C. Parr and investigated by the Mon Valley Drug Task Force, comprised of officers from the Morgantown Police Department, the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
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