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Justice News

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

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Maryland men admit to fentanyl distribution

MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Sven Artez Alston and James Lamont Brinkley, both of Baltimore, Maryland, have admitted to distributing fentanyl, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced.

Alston, age 30, and Brinkley, age 32, each pled guilty to one count of “Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl.” Both men were found in a motel in Spring Mills, West Virginia, in November 2018 with 30 grams of fentanyl, 39 grams of a synthetic opiate known as U47700, and a cutting agent, as well as digital scales and plastic baggies. The amount of fentanyl seized was enough to kill more than 10,000 people. Other drugs were also found in the room, along with $9,600 in cash.

Alston and Brinkley each face up to 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000,000 for each 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.

These charges are 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. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy D. Helman and Lara Omps-Botteicher and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Lydia Lehman, also with the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, are prosecuting the cases on behalf of the government.  The FBI; the West Virginia State Police; the Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative; the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office; the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office; the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office; the Martinsburg Police Department; the Charles Town Police Department; and the Ranson Police Department investigated. The United States Marshals assisted.

The investigation was funded 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 Robert W. Trumble presided.

Drug Trafficking
Updated October 2, 2019