News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Jan. 12, 2012                   


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today that Ersel Prince Jr., 61, of Neibert, West Virginia was sentenced to two years in prison for illegally distributing oxycodone pills out of his home in Logan County.

Goodwin, who handled the case personally, stated “Prescription drug distribution and abuse represents the biggest crime problem in the Southern District of West Virginia. It is appropriate, therefore, that anyone caught dealing prescription drugs gets jail time.”

Prince was exposed to more time in jail but cooperated in bringing to justice a number of other drug dealers.

In pronouncing sentence, United States District Judge Thomas Johnston recognized the serious problem prescription drug distribution poses and said that because of that he would hand out stiffer sentences in pill cases relative to cases involving other drugs. Judge Johnston also pointed out that Prince had an arrangement whereby he brought the pills he dealt in from out of state.

Prince also forfeited almost $25,000 in cash and 29 guns seized from his home. When released from prison, Prince will serve three years on supervised release.

Prince previously pleaded guilty in June.  The defendant admitted that on three occasions in February and March of last year that he distributed quantities of oxycodone. He also admitted that over the last two years he sold at least four hundred (400) 80mg OxyContin pills, at least five hundred (500) to six hundred (600) 30mg Roxicodone pills and three hundred (300) to four hundred (400) 40mg OxyContin pills. The defendant further admitted that he had numerous firearms positioned at various locations throughout his residence for his protection in the conduct of his drug distribution activities.

The investigation was conducted by First Sgt. T.C. Bledsoe of the West Virginia State Police and the U.S. 119 Task Force that he leads. 

This case was 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 various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, remain 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. 

To listen to an audio soundbite provided by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, please click here.

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