Northern West Virginia law enforcement officers recognized for outstanding investigations
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – A variety of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers were recognized for outstanding contributions to regional law enforcement objectives and prosecutions during an awards ceremony today hosted by United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II.
Officers throughout the Northern District of West Virginia were honored today, including:
2016 Outstanding Prescription Drug Investigative Effort Award
The Greater Harrison County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, was recognized for its investigative efforts in the cases of United States v. Edita Milan, M.D. and United States v. Mario Blount. Milan, a physician with a medical practice in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Blount, a licensed pharmacist and former mayor of Bridgeport, conspired to unlawfully distribute prescription painkillers. Milan was sentenced in May 2015 to 60 months in prison. Blount was sentenced in February 2015 to 36 months in prison.
Maryland Natural Resources Police Office Barry D. Ball was recognized for his investigative efforts in the case of United States v. Tressie Duffy, M.D. Duffy, a physician in Martinsburg, West Virginia, repeatedly signed blank prescription orders and allowed unlicensed members of her staff to issue prescriptions for narcotic medications to patients that had not been seen by a physician. Duffy is awaiting sentencing after she pled guilty in December 2015 to seven counts of “Distribution of Oxycodone.”
2016 Outstanding Drug Interdiction Award
The Mountaineer Highway Interdiction Team was recognized for its investigative efforts in the case of United States v. Shawn McClain. McClain was sentenced in March 2015 to 120 months in prison after he admitted to traveling from Ohio into West Virginia to sell heroin.
2016 Outstanding Drug Investigative Effort Award
The Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, was recognized for its investigative efforts in the case of United States v. Brian Hall, et. al. Hall coordinated an interstate heroin trafficking operation in which heroin was transported from Maryland to locations in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The drug distribution network was disrupted in June 2015 by a 163-count federal indictment targeting 41 defendants. Forty of the defendants have been convicted in federal court. Hall was sentenced in February 2016 to 100 months in prison for orchestrating the heroin trafficking scheme.
West Virginia State Police Sergeant Charles T. Kessel was recognized for his investigative efforts in the case of United States v. Noel Barrera Silva. Silva, a Mexican national living in Moorefield, West Virginia, was sentenced in May 2016 to 78 months in prison after he was discovered in possession of approximately four pounds of methamphetamine.
2016 Outstanding Firearm Investigative Effort Award
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent Matthew H. Bassett was recognized for his investigative efforts in the case of United States v. Jarrud Dixon, et. al. Throughout 2013 and 2014, Dixon conspired with other individuals, including a licensed firearms dealer in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, to unlawfully transport firearms across state lines from West Virginia into Maryland. Dixon was convicted in February 2016 and is awaiting sentencing.
2016 Outstanding Healthcare Fraud Investigative Effort Award
Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Special Agent Scott A. Noullet and Department of Defense Office of Inspector General Special Agent Jennifer L. Jezewski were recognized for their investigative efforts in the case of United States v. Samer Kuzbari, M.D. Kuzbari, a physician in Fairmont, West Virginia, recently paid $440,232 to settle claims that he fraudulently requested reimbursement for medical services that were not actually rendered.
2016 Outstanding Investigative Effort Award
Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Edward P. Ryan and Wheeling Police Department Detective Brandi N. Alderman were recognized for their investigative efforts in the case of United States v. Kevin Wick. Wick repeatedly traveled across state lines from West Virginia to Ohio for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct with five minor victims. He was convicted in January 2106 and is awaiting sentencing.
The United States Attorney’s Awards ceremony was held at the United States Courthouse in Wheeling today and included remarks from Senior U.S. District Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr. and U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld.