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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Oct. 3, 2012                   

MERCER COUNTY MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON AS PART OF FEDERAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG CRACKDOWN

BECKLEY, W.Va. – U. S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced that a Mercer County man was sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison today for illegally distributing prescription drugs.  Marcus Antonio Hodge, 26, of Bluefield, previously pleaded guilty in June to distribution of hydromorphone, a powerful prescription painkiller better known as Dilaudid. 

Hodge admitted that on September 11, 2011, he sold 50 hydromorphone pills to a confidential informant cooperating with law enforcement authorities.  The illegal pill transaction took place in Bluefield.  Hodge further admitted that he sold an additional 150 hydromorphone pills. 

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 handled the prosecutions.  The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Irene C. Berger. 

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