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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

March 26, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Upshur County Sheriff’s Department and Feds
Dismantle Meth Ring

BUCKHANNON, WEST VIRGINIA - Another methamphetamine manufacturing ring has been dismantled by the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department.

Eight area residents have been convicted in federal court of meth-related charges and are facing lengthy sentences in United States District Court. All of the conduct charged occurred in the Spring and Summer of 2011 and the convictions are the result of a 65 count indictment that was returned late last year. As part of its investigation the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department executed multiple search warrants, made controlled purchases of methamphetamine, and obtained confessions from each of the defendants.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced on Monday that the following individuals recently entered guilty please before United States Magistrate Judge John Kaull:

CHRISTOPHER ARBOGAST, age 20, of Tallsmanville, West Virginia, entered a plea of guilty to Distribution of Methamphetamine in Upshur County, West Virginia. ARBOGAST, who is in custody pending sentencing, faces a maximum exposure of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.

RICHARD T. OLDAKER, age 54, of Buckhannon, West Virginia, entered a plea of guilty Maintaining a Drug-involved Premise from April of 2011 to September 20, 2011, in Upshur County. OLDAKER, who is free on bond pending sentencing, faces a maximum exposure of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000.

THOMAS ANDREW CARSON, age 27, of Buckhannon, entered a plea of guilty to Distribution of Methamphetamine in Upshur County, West Virginia. CARSON, who is in custody pending sentencing, faces a maximum exposure of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.

ALEXIS R. TENNANT, age 25, of Buckhannon, entered a plea of guilty Possession of Pseudoephedrine Knowing that it would be used to Manufacture Methamphetamine in Upshur County. TENNANT, who is in custody pending sentencing, faces a maximum exposure of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

RICHARD A. JARRETT, 42, of Buckhannon, entered a plea of guilty to Possession of Pseudoephedrine Knowing that it would be used to Manufacture Methamphetamine in Upshur County. JARRETT, who is in custody pending sentencing, face a maximum exposure of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

ROGER G. GOODEN, II, age 25, of Tallmansville, West Virginia, entered a plea of guilty to Possession of Pseudoephedrine Knowing that it would be used to Manufacture Methamphetamine in Upshur County. GOODEN, who is free on bond pending sentencing, faces a maximum exposure of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

BRITTANY H. ESQUER, age 21, of Tallmansville, entered a plea of guilty to one count of Possession of Pseudoephedrine Knowing that it would be used to Manufacture Methamphetamine. ESQUER, who is in custody pending sentencing, faces a maximum exposure of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

DONNA J. BEATTY, age 46, of Buckhannon, entered a plea of guilty to Possession of Pseudoephedrine Knowing that it would be used to Manufacture Methamphetamine. BEATTY, who is free on bond pending sentencing, faces a maximum exposure of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

“The production and distribution of methamphetamine continues to be a significant problem in this part of West Virginia. But the local law enforcement response has been terrific and we will continue to work together to put away those who put this poison into our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “Thanks to the great work of the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department we have convicted eight more individuals who were involved in the production and distribution of meth.”

“We have an outstanding working relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and I appreciate the support that they have provided to my department over the years,” said Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller. “My men and I will continue to pursue those who cook meth in our county and work to incarcerate them for as long as the law will permit.”

According to Ihlenfeld the means by which methamphetamine has been manufactured in this area has changed over time. Until about a year ago, methamphetamine in Upshur County was manufactured using the “anhydrous ammonia,” or “nazi” method, an elaborate process that required the theft of anhydrous ammonia, typically from a coal mine reclamation site. However, in the past year or so, meth cooks in Upshur County have begun to cook methamphetamine using the “shake and bake” or “one pot” method.
There is a long history of cooperation between the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department and federal authorities. In 2009 a joint effort led to the takedown of Jeremy Brown, one of the largest meth manufacturers ever known to law enforcement in this area, and the recipient of a 360 month federal sentence. The West Virginia State Police-BCI also was a tremendous help in the Brown investigation, particularly in identifying and locating historical witnesses.

The United States Sentencing Guidelines call for severe penalties for those who make methamphetamine, and for those who merely possess pseudoephedrine with the intent to make methamphetamine. Since 2009 many significant sentences have been handed down in federal meth cases in this region, including:

Carissa Confere - 168 months
David Helmick - 140 months
Foster Williams - 120 months
Charles Cutright 120 months
John Spaur - 84 months
Luke Heater - 86 months
James Hovis - 70 months
Regeana Wagoner - 46 months
Larry Bailey - 57 months

The Arbogast case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen D. Warner and was investigated by the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department and the Buckhannon Police Department.

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