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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Aug. 7, 2013                   

WYOMING CO. PILL DEALER WITH $570,000 IN ILLEGAL DRUG PROCEEDS PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL CHARGE

Police seize hundreds of thousands in cash, firearms from Lester’s Wyoming residences

BECKLEY – A 55-year-old pill dealer who illegally sold prescription painkillers in Wyoming County pleaded guilty today to a federal charge, announced U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. Delbert Lester, of McGraws, Wyoming Co., W.Va., entered a guilty plea to possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute before United States District Judge Irene C. Berger in Beckley.  From January 11, 2011 through May 4, 2013, Lester illegally sold prescription pills to a confidential informant working in cooperation with law enforcement authorities on eight separate occasions.  Lester, who maintained two residences in McGraws, W.Va., lived at one residence and conducted illegal pill transactions at the other.

On May 9, 2013, law enforcement agents executed search warrants on Lester’s two residences.  During the searches, agents recovered 190 30-milligram oxycodone pills and 155 10-milligram oxycodone pills.  Agents also recovered a total of $570,000 in cash and several firearms including two loaded .22 caliber semi-automatic pistols.       

Lester faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on December 4, 2013. 

According to his plea agreement, Lester will forfeit the $570,000 in illegal drug proceeds that was seized from his residence.

The investigation was conducted by the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Haley Bunn is in charge of the prosecution. 

This case is being prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers in communities across the Southern District. 

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