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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Four Clarksburg men admit to their roles in a drug distribution operation

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Four Clarksburg residents have admitted to their roles in a drug distribution operation, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.

Ernest Russell Claypool, Jr., age 53, pled guilty to one count of “Aiding and Abetting the Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking Crime” and one count of “Maintaining Drug-Involved Premises-Aiding and Abetting.” Claypool admitted to having 20 different firearms, including pistols, shotguns, rifles, and revolvers, during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. He also admitted to maintaining a property in Clarksburg for distributing heroin and storing and distributing marijuana. The crimes occurred from an unknown date until September 2017 in Harrison County.

Chadley Russell Claypool, age 32, pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin” and one count of “Distribution of Fentanyl.” Claypool admitted to distributing heroin in Harrison County from an unknown date to September 2017. He also admitted to selling fentanyl in August 2017 in Harrison County.

Colton Justice Kallel, age 22, pled guilty to one count of “Distribution of Fentanyl” and one count of “Aiding and Abetting the Distribution of Fentanyl in Proximity of a Protected Location.” Kallel admitted to selling fentanyl on July 11, 2017 in Harrison County. He also admitted to selling fentanyl near Clarksburg City Park, on July 31, 2017 in Harrison County.

Zachery Allen Queen, age 26, pled guilty to one count of “Aiding and Abetting the Distribution of the Controlled Substance Analogue Cyclopropylfentanyl.” Queen admitted to selling the drug in August 2017 in Harrison County.

Ernest Claypool faces up to life incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000. Chadley Claypool and Queen each face up to 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000,0000 for each count. Colton Kallel faces up to 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000,0000 for the first count, and faces up to 40 years incarceration  and a fine of up to $2,000,000 for the second count. 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 Traci M. Cook is prosecuting the cases on behalf of the government. The case was investigated by the Greater Harrison Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force and the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation. 
 
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi presided.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated March 27, 2018