16 indicted on conspiracy charges for “boot” distribution operation
MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Sixteen individuals from Maryland and West Virginia are facing charges involving a drug conspiracy, United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced.
The indictment alleges that large quantities of Eutylone, also known as “boot,” were trafficked from Maryland to Berkeley and Jefferson Counties, West Virginia from February 2019 to March 15, 2022.
“Eutylone is a dangerous drug that has a high potential for abuse and leads to adverse physical and psychological effects for its users,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “It poses a serious threat to public health in the Eastern Panhandle and this prosecution will make the community safer, both through enforcement and education.”
Those charged are:
- Charles Edward Scott, also known as “Whop Whop,” 28, of Damascus, Maryland
- Ryan Darnell Scott, 37, of Gaithersburg, Maryland
- Anthony Joseph Shants, Jr., also known as “Lul Draco,” 23, of Martinsburg, West Virginia
- Jose Michael Flores, also known as “Taz,” 26, of Montgomery Village, Maryland
- Andre Phillip Stevenson, 40, of Washington, D.C.
- Alim D. Farma, 23, of Gaithersburg, Maryland
- Robert Matthew Johnson, also known as “Flex,” 33, of Martinsburg, West Virginia
- Sophia Ellen Hizer, 20, of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
- Bernard Anthony Brickhouse, also known as “Mitch Sosa,” 26, of Martinsburg, West Virginia
- Kofi Orleans-Lindsay, 22, of Gaithersburg, Maryland
- Shayla Louise Wetzel, 25, of Martinsburg, West Virginia
- Destiny Hope Turner, 25, of Martinsburg, West Virginia
- Kyle Thayer, 35, of Gaithersburg, Maryland
- Kyle Allen Finch, 23, of Hedgesville, West Virginia
- Corbin Charles Linthicum, 22, of Kearneysville, West Virginia
- Mikayla Doreen Thornton, 23, of Martinsburg, West Virginia
Further, the indictment alleges that a co-conspirator, Shants, possessed firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking activities.
All defendants have been arrested with the exception of Sophia Hizer and Shayla Wetzel, who are considered fugitives.
The defendants each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the drug conspiracy charge. Shants faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Omps-Botteicher is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The FBI; ATF; the Eastern Panhandle Drug Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative; the Martinsburg Police Department; the Montgomery County, Maryland Police Department; the Virginia State Police, Montgomery County; and Maryland State Attorney’s Office investigated.
Eutylone, a synthetic cathinone with a chemical structural similar to Schedule I and II amphetamines and cathinones, such as MDMA/ecstasy, is an illegal, Schedule I controlled substance. Eutylone became a scheduled drug in 2018, and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia has seen an increase in the drug’s popularity in the last several years. This indictment is the largest conspiracy charged thus far for eutylone distribution in the Northern District of West Virginia.
An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.