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R. Booth Goodwin II, United States Attorney
Southern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                               CONTACT: Melvin Smith
June 3, 2011                                                                                                                   melvin.smith@usdoj.gov

CHARLESTON WOMAN SENTENCED TO PRISON ON FEDERAL DRUG CHARGES

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Valerie Ponder, 43, of Charleston was sentenced yesterday to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., for possession with intent to distribute quantities of cocaine and oxycodone. Ponder pleaded guilty in January to the charges.  On September 17, 2009, the defendant consented to a search of her Charleston residence in which agents with the Special Enforcement Unit of the Charleston Police Department seized suspected cocaine and oxycodone tablets, as well as digital scales and baggies.  Ponder further admitted that she had intended to sell both the cocaine and oxycodone that was seized, and that the other material found during the search of her house had been used to weigh and package drugs for resale.  The cocaine and oxycodone were submitted to the West Virginia State Police Lab for analysis and proved to be 2.3 grams of cocaine and 112 tablets containing a total of 8.96 grams of oxycodone.  

This case was investigated by the Charleston Police Department’s Special Enforcement Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney John Frail handled the prosecution.  

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. 

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