News and Press Releases

DOJ Seal

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA

William J. Ihlenfeld, II
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY


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

 

December 1, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Wheeling Resident Sentenced to 6-1/2 Years
on Drug Charge

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA - A 39 year old Wheeling, West Virginia, resident was sentenced on November 30, 2010, in United States District Court in Wheeling by Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that ROBERT LEE SAUNDERS, also known as “R.J.,” was sentenced to 78 months imprisonment to be followed by five years supervised release for being the leader and organizer of the cocaine and marijuana organization which had been operating in Wheeling since at least 2005. The Court made a specific finding that SAUNDERS was the leader of the organization, of which five others have already pled guilty to federal felonies. The effect of the finding resulted in SAUNDERS sentence being increased by 27 months.

SAUNDERS entered a plea of guilty on August 11, 2010, to one count of an Indictment charging him with the conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and a quantity of marijuana from at least January of 2005 to August 28, 2009, in the Northern District of West Virginia and elsewhere.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Ohio Valley Drug Task Force conducted an investigation over a two year period into the cocaine and marijuana conspiracy activities of SAUNDERS and his associates. As part of his plea, SAUNDERS admitted to distributing more than eight pounds of cocaine, as well as 100 pounds of marijuana between 2005 and 2009. Those drugs had a street value of more than $500,000.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, commented “this investigation demonstrates to the Wheeling community the determination and dedication of the agents, who confronted with numerous hurdles, found creative ways of accumulating the evidence to totally dismantle a significant drug organization which distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of illegal drugs. Their actions show the resolve law enforcement has to keep drugs from poisoning our residents and children.”

The investigation is continuing with three other alleged members of the organization pending trial in February, 2011.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John C. Parr.

Project Future

Call Tara Tighe at (304) 234-7703 or Email Tara.Tighe@usdoj.gov to schedule your event.

WV Public Corruption
Hotline
Public Corruption

Call 1-855-WVA-FEDS or Email wvafeds@usdoj.gov if you have information about public corruption in your community.

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
What Makes Schools Safer? Using science to discover what works. Federal funding available. Visit NIJ.gov, keywords: 'comprehensive school safety intiative'
Community Outreach

Giving Back to the Community through a variety of venues & initatives.

Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Stay Connected: Visit us on Twitter
Justice 101