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Justice News

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

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Boone County man sentenced for role in heroin conspiracy

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today that James Harry Barker, 63, of Ashford, Boone County, West Virginia, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

In April 2014, Barker, also known as “Firebug,” pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin. On June 6, 2013, officers executed a search warrant at Barker’s residence, and a business he operated. Cash and drug distribution packing material were seized.

Barker stated that the money seized was proceeds from illegal drug distribution. He admitted that he had obtained heroin from a source since June 2012, and distributed hundreds of heroin packets in the Boone County area until summer 2013.

Barker also admitted to supplying his daughter heroin daily while he was distributing. United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston, who imposed the sentence, commented that was like giving her a gun and telling her to play Russian roulette.

The case was investigated by the United States 119 Drug Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Haley Bunn was in charge of the prosecution.

This case was prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs and heroin. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers and heroin in communications across the Southern District.


Drug Trafficking
Updated January 8, 2016