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Press Release

Philadelphia man sentenced for heroin and fentanyl distribution

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

MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Richard Gaines, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today to 151 months of incarceration for opioid distribution, Acting U.S. Attorney Randolph J. Bernard announced.

Gaines, age 46, pled guilty in July 2020 to one count of “Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin and Fentanyl.” Gaines admitted to having heroin and fentanyl in June 2017 in Berkeley County. The night of his arrest, Gaines fled from police during a traffic stop in Martinsburg at a high rate of speed, hitting a tree. During the hearing today, it was mentioned that Gaines, who is not a drug user, was in Martinsburg for the sole reason of selling drugs. He is labeled as a career offender, with a previous violent crime conviction and another felony drug conviction.

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. 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 prosecuted the case on behalf of the government. The Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, the West Virginia State Police, and the Martinsburg Police Department investigated.

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


Updated October 4, 2021

Drug Trafficking