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Press Release

Hancock County man indicted in international drug operation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of West Virginia

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA - A Hancock County man has been charged with acquiring more than 50,000 pills from Europe for redistribution in the United States.

United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced today that Thomas O. McGowan, age 50, has been indicted on federal drug charges after an investigation revealed that he had received shipments from Bulgaria containing large amounts of Schedule II and Schedule IV controlled substances. The shipments to McGowan were concealed in large spools of yarn to avoid detection.

After the packages were delivered, agents recovered 58,498 pills from McGowan’s New Cumberland residence and learned that he had been repackaging the pills into quantities of either 90 or 180 for sale. The substances seized include Diazepam, Lorazepam, Tapentadol and Zolpidem. McGowan faces a total for four charges, each alleging that he possessed a controlled substance with the intent to deliver.

“U.S. Custom and Border agents are to be commended for identifying a suspicious inbound international parcel and then quickly coordinating with agents in West Virginia to make an arrest,” said United States Attorney Ihlenfeld. “These collaborative efforts disrupted a sophisticated operation and prevented the diversion of powerful and addictive medication.”

The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Adkins. It was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug Task Force, the Wheeling Police Department, the West Virginia State Police, and the Metro Drug Enforcement Network Team.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.


Updated December 14, 2022

Drug Trafficking
Prescription Drugs