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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          April 1, 2013                   

GOODWIN ANNOUNCES FIVE FEDERAL GUILTY PLEAS IN CONNECTION WITH THE BLUEFIELD PILL INITIATIVE

Anti-pill sweep continues

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – U. S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced that four Mercer County residents and a Baltimore, Maryland resident pleaded guilty in federal court on April 1 to charges of illegally distributing prescription drugs. The charges were brought as part an ongoing effort to combat prescription pill abuse in southern West Virginia known as the Bluefield Pill Initiative.  

“Criminals like these are poisoning our communities,” said Goodwin. “With these five guilty pleas, our message should be clear:  Pill dealers aren’t welcome in southern West Virginia.” 

Goodwin continued, “Fighting the pill epidemic has been my office’s leading priority. Pill dealers will be caught and they will be prosecuted.”  

Robin Bolton, 43, of Princeton, W.Va., pleaded guilty to distributing hydromorphone, a powerful prescription painkiller commonly known as Dilaudid.  Bolton admitted that on October 22, 2012, she sold a quantity of hydromorphone to a person cooperating with law enforcement authorities.  The defendant also admitted that each of the illegal pill transaction took place near Princeton, W.Va. 

Alane McKenzie, 39, of Princeton, W.Va., pleaded guilty to distributing hydromorphone.   McKenzie admitted that on October 22, 2012, she sold a quantity of hydromorphone to a person cooperating with law enforcement authorities.  She also admitted that each of the illegal pill transactions took place near Princeton, W.Va. 

Robin Roope, 39, of Princeton, W.Va., pleaded guilty to distributing hydromorphone.  Roope admitted that on November 5, 2012, she sold a quantity of hydromorphone to a person cooperating with law enforcement authorities.  

Earl Inscore, 43, of Princeton, W.Va., pleaded guilty to distributing hydromorphone.  Bolton admitted that on March 27, 2012, he sold a quantity of hydromorphone to a person cooperating with law enforcement authorities. 

Robert J. Fleek Jr., 31, of Baltimore, MD, pleaded guilty to distributing hydromorphone and buprenorphine. Buprenorphine, commonly known by the trade name Suboxone or Subutex, is a drug intended to help people overcome opioid addiction as part of a rehabilitation program. Fleek admitted that he sold hydromorphone pills to persons cooperating with law enforcement on five different occasions between January 25, 2012, and March 16, 2012.  Fleek also illegally sold buprenorphine to a person cooperating with law enforcement.   

Bolton, Inscore and Fleek face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine when they are sentenced on August 5, 2013.   McKenzie and Roope each face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine when they are sentenced on August 12, 2013 by Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber. 

The Bluefield Pill Initiative is a collaborative, multi-agency regional law enforcement effort designed to halt prescription drug trafficking in Mercer, McDowell, and Wyoming counties.  The Bluefield Pill Initiative is led by the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, which includes the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation; the Mercer, McDowell and Wyoming County Sheriff’s Departments; and the Bluefield and Princeton Police Departments.  Assistant United States Attorneys Miller Bushong and John File are in charge of the prosecutions.  

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