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Press Release

Marion County man and Harrison County man admit to roles in methamphetamine distribution operation

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

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Stephen Richards, of Fairmont, West Virginia, and Nathan Crites, of Clarksburg, West Virginia, have admitted to their roles in a methamphetamine distribution operation, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.
Richards, age 40, pled guilty to one count of “Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.” Richards, having previously been convicted of a felony, admitted to having a 9mm pistol and a 30-caliber bolt-action rifle in December 2017 in Harrison County.

Crites, age 34, pled guilty to one count of “Distribution of Methamphetamine.” Crites admitted to selling methamphetamine in April 2018 in Harrison County.

Richards faces up to 10 years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000. Crites faces up to 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000,000. 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.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). Project Safe Neighborhoods is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zelda E. Wesley is prosecuting the cases on behalf of the government. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Greater Harrison Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, investigated. The United States Marshal Service assisted.

The investigation was funded in part by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi presided.

Updated February 27, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods