Mountain Region Drug Task Force reflects on successful 2014, looks forward to 2015
ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA – The leaders of the Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Task Force announced the results of their collaborative efforts in 2014 and discussed what they hope to accomplish in 2015, including forming a stronger partnership with the public.
According to its board members, Mountain Region Drug Task Force investigations led to a total of 47 individuals being prosecuted in federal court last year. The prosecutions were for a variety of offenses, including methamphetamine distribution (23), prescription pills (17), marijuana (4), cocaine (2), and unlawful possession of firearms (1). Noteworthy prosecutions in 2014 included:
- Michael Wayne Johnson, of Elkins, West Virginia, who was sentenced to 120 months in prison for methamphetamine trafficking in Randolph County.
- John A. Boyles, of Kerens, West Virginia, was sentenced to 97 months in prison for crack cocaine distribution in Tucker County. His wife, Arica Boyles, was also convicted of cocaine distribution. She faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000 when she is sentenced.
- Elizabeth Allison Sweatt, of Nice, California, was convicted of marijuana trafficking after authorities discovered that she was shipping marijuana from California to Randolph County, West Virginia for redistribution and sale. She was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to forfeit $15,402.98 in U.S. currency and to pay a money judgment in the amount of $60,000.00.
- Arnold Lee Mayle, of Canton Ohio, and Dorothy Ellen Metz, of Athens, Georgia, were both convicted of selling prescription painkillers. Metz was sentenced to twelve months and one day in prison.
- Shawn David White and Christina Lee Kimble, both of Bartow, West Virginia, were convicted for methamphetamine trafficking in Pocahontas, Randolph, and Harrison counties. White faces up to 10 years in prison and Kimble faces up to 20 years in prison. They each face a fine of up to $250,000.00.
- Matthew L. Cordero, of Vineland, New Jersey, Jonathan Paul Calain, of Elkins, West Virginia, and two additional West Virginia residents, were charged with oxycodone trafficking in a 17-count superseding indictment. In addition to prison sentences, the Defendants face a money judgment of nearly $400,000.00.
In 2014, Defendants investigated by the Task Force were required to forfeit more than $31,000 in U.S. currency, two residences used to distribute controlled substances, two motor vehicles, multiple firearms, and money judgments in excess of $400,000.
“The Mountain Region Drug Task Force had an extremely successful 2014,” commented United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II. “Enhanced cooperation among law enforcement agencies has proven to be effective, and the Task Force has made it increasingly difficult for drug suppliers from different states to conduct business in North Central West Virginia. In the past year, we have successfully identified and prosecuted drug suppliers from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, New Jersey, Michigan, Florida and California. We hope that the public will join the fight in 2015 by supplying information to our hotline.”
The Task Force was formed in the fall of 2013 and is comprised of representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Forest Service, the West Virginia State Police, the Tucker County Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney’s Offices, the Randolph County Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney’s Offices, and the Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney’s Offices. Task Force investigations are also supported by the United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Task force board members are pleased with the results produced by the unit.
“I believe that the Mountain Region Drug Task Force has been very effective in promoting the sharing of information and utilizing investigative resources for the benefit of all member agencies and jurisdictions,” reflected Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker. “The task force continues to do vital work to combat drug and violent crimes in Randolph, Tucker, and Pocahontas counties and has the full support of the Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.”
“The Mountain Region Drug Task Force has brought greater cooperation between all levels of law enforcement,” stated Tucker County Prosecuting Attorney Raymond LaMora, III. “Even though we have not seen an uptick in state prosecutions, the information developed in many Tucker County investigations has led to federal indictments and prosecutions in surrounding counties. Each arrest, and each prosecution in our region, is a benefit to our county as the flow of narcotics begins to trickle less and less into the homes of our communities.”
Individuals with information on drug activity in the region are encouraged to call the Task Force hotline at 304-636-TIPS. Regular updates on the work of the Task Force are available at mountainregiondtf.com and via the official Twitter feed of the United States Attorney’s Office, @NDWVnews.