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Press Release

Martins Ferry, Ohio man charged with interstate cocaine trafficking

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

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Shawndale Saunders, 54, of Martins Ferry, Ohio, with cocaine trafficking, United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced.

Throughout April and May 2016, Saunders allegedly conspired with other individuals to transport cocaine across state lines from Ohio into West Virginia in order to possess and sell the drug in Ohio County, West Virginia. Specifically, Saunders is alleged to have utilized a telephone to facilitate the sale of cocaine in Ohio County, West Virginia.

Saunders is charged with one count of “Conspiracy to Distribute 280 Grams or More of Cocaine Base,” for which he faces between 10 years and life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000,000. He is further charged with one count of “Use of a Telephone to Facilitate Distribution of Cocaine Base,” for which he faces up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Vogrin is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Ohio Valley Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, and the Martins Ferry, Ohio Police Department are investigating.

An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated June 7, 2016

Drug Trafficking