FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dec. 19, 2013
CHARLESTON MAN ENTERS GUILTY PLEA TO FEDERAL HEROIN DISTRIBUTION CHARGE
Defendant Brandon “Fresh” Solomon charged as part of Charleston’s West Side Drug Market Intervention initiative
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Charleston man faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty today in federal court to distribution of heroin, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced. Brandon Christopher Solomon, also known as “Fresh,” was charged with three counts contained in an indictment returned in October. Solomon, 19, admitted that he sold heroin to a police informant in exchange for cash.
Solomon is being prosecuted as part of the Charleston area’s Drug Market Intervention (DMI) initiative. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 19, 2014 by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. Solomon was designated a member of the DMI A-list, which comprises the most serious offenders identified in the initiative.
The Charleston Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Haley Bunn is in charge of the prosecution.
The DMI initiative was launched in February 2012 by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster, in collaboration with other federal, state, local law enforcement agencies and leaders representing several West Side community development organizations. A continuation of the DMI initiative was announced earlier this month in Charleston.
Over the past several months, the Charleston Police Department and other law enforcement agencies have conducted undercover operations and completed investigations culminating in federal charges being filed against thirteen individuals.
Drug Market Intervention, first implemented in High Point, North Carolina, and replicated with success in several other cities, including Huntington, W.Va., is a strategic problem-solving initiative aimed at closing down drug markets that breed crimes of violence and disorder.
The DMI strategy also included a staged community intervention that was held last week at the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church on Charleston’s West Side. The community intervention meeting offered a rare second chance for five low-level, non-violent offenders to end their criminal activity and avoid being prosecuted, if a strict set of guidelines set by law enforcement are obeyed. The Dec. 12 community intervention call-in meeting was attended by offenders’ relatives, concerned citizens, and faith-based leaders from the West Side community. The call-in meeting was coordinated and attended by federal, state and local law enforcement officials.