News and Press Releases

DOJ Seal


William J. Ihlenfeld, II

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist

March 1, 2012

Ohio Valley Drug Task Force seizes
$133,000 and 43 pounds of Marijuana;
Pennsylvania man charged with Federal felony

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA — State and federal agents seized 43 pounds of premium-grade marijuana and $133,000 in cash from a Pennsylvania man who traveled to a Wheeling hotel on Thursday to engage in a major drug deal.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that RYAN RIEGER, 35, of Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, was arrested today by members of the Ohio Valley Drug Task Force and was named in a one-count federal criminal complaint charging him with “Conspiracy to Poessess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana.”

The complaint alleges that on March 1, 2012, at approximately 10:57 A.M. RIEGER arrived at the Spring Hill Suites in the Woodsdale section of Wheeling with $133,000 in United States Currency. RIEGER went to a hotel room where a confidential informant was staying and once in the room RIEGER provided the informant with the cash, which was contained in two boxes. In exchange for the cash the confidential informant provided RIEGER with two (2) duffle bags containing approximately 43 pounds of hydroponic marijuana.

After the deal took place RIEGER and the confidential informant left the room, with RIEGER carrying one duffle bag and the confidential informant carrying the other. As RIEGER was attempting to exit the hotel task force officers detained and arrested RIEGER and seized the drugs and cash.

RIEGER was transported to the United States Courthouse in Wheeling and made an initial appearance via video before United States Magistrate Judge David J. Joel on Thursday afternoon. RIEGER is entitled by rule to a preliminary hearing within 21 days.

The United States Attorney’s Office will seek to forfeit the cash seized along with a 2009 Toyota Tundra Pickup Truck that RIEGER used to travel to Wheeling. Any successful forfeitures obtained as a result of the investigation will be distributed to the law enforcement agencies involved in the takedown.

“The Ohio Valley Drug Task Force once again prevented a large quantity of illegal drugs from hitting the streets of Wheeling. The task force officers have worked non-stop over the past 24 hours to make sure that the drugs and cash were seized and that the suspect was arrested,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “The drugs involved in this case are believed to have been grown hydroponically, which means that it is more potent than your average marijuana and commands a much higher price. It is especially critical that we keep this type of substance from being distributed in our community.”

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randolph J. Bernard.

The Ohio Valley Drug and Violent Crime Task Force will continue to lead the investigation and consists of officers from the Wheeling Police Department, the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Also assisting in the investigation are the West Virginia State Police-Bureau of Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration-Fairview Heights Resident Office in Fairview Heights, Illinois, and the Pennsylvania State Police.