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Press Release

Martinsburg man sentenced for role in drug trafficking ring

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

MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Sanford Fayton Venable, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, was sentenced today to 60 months of incarceration for his involvement in a drug conspiracy that spanned several states, United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced.

Venable, 51, pleaded guilty in July 2021 to one count of “Distribution of Forty Grams or More of a Heroin and Fentanyl Mixture.” Venable admitted to selling more than 40 grams of a heroin and fentanyl mixture in November 2019 in Berkeley County. In a separate case, Venable pleaded guilty to one count of “Distribution of 28 grams or More of Cocaine Base.” Venable admitted to selling more than 28 grams of cocaine base, also known as “crack,” in August 2019 in Berkeley County.

This case is the result of investigations supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) under the Attorney General-led Synthetic Opioid Surge (SOS)/Special Operations Division (SOD) Project Clean Sweep.  This initiative seeks to reduce the supply of synthetic opioids in “hot spot” areas previously identified by the Attorney General of the United States, thereby reducing drug overdoses and drug overdose deaths, and identify wholesale distribution networks and sources of supply operating nationally and internationally. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Omps-Botteicher and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Lydia Lehman, also with the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, prosecuted the cases on behalf of the government. The FBI; Homeland Security Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; and the Eastern Panhandle Drug Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, investigated. 

U.S. District Judge Gina M. Groh presided.

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Updated May 10, 2022

Drug Trafficking