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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          June 13, 2012                   

MERCER COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG CHARGE

BECKLEY, W.Va. – U. S. Attorney Booth Goodwin today announced that a Mercer County man pleaded guilty today in federal court for illegally distributing prescription drugs.  Marcus Antonio Hodge, 25, of Bluefield, pleaded guilty today to distribution of hydromorphone, a powerful prescription painkiller better known as Dilaudid.  Hodge admitted he sold 50 hydromorphone pills to a confidential informant cooperating with law enforcement authorities.  The illegal pill transaction took place in Bluefield. 
Hodge also admitted that in September 2011, he sold a total of 119 hydromorphone pills to a confidential as part of controlled drug buys arranged by law enforcement officers.  Hodge sold 50 pills on September 26, 2011; 50 pills on September 28, 2011 and 19 pills on September 30, 2011. 

Hodge faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine when he is sentenced on October 4, 2012 by United States District Judge Irene C. Berger. 

In the past 11 days, twelve drug dealers have been sentenced to federal prison for illegally distributing prescription drugs and other illegal narcotics as part of the Bluefield Pill Initiative. 

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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