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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 6, 2014

California Drug Dealer Sentenced To More Than 15 Years In Federal Prison

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A California man who distributed heroin, methamphetamine, and oxycodone in Charleston and Summersville, West Virginia in 2012 and 2013 was sentenced today to 15 years and eight months in federal prison, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced.  Donnell Dwayne Diego, 34, of San Diego, California previously pleaded guilty in April of 2014, to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.  The guilty plea resolved Diego’s involvement in three separate investigations conducted by task force agents in Kanawha and Nicholas counties.

On October 11, 2012 officers from the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) searched Diego’s Central Avenue residence in Charleston and seized two loaded semiautomatic pistols, crack cocaine, and oxycodone tablets.  Diego posted bond in Kanawha County Magistrate Court after his arrest and was released from custody.  In June and July of 2013, MDENT officers used an informant to make three undercover purchases of methamphetamine from Diego.  On July 11, 2013, police executed a search warrant at Diego’s residence and seized more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, more than 50 grams of heroin, and almost $10,000.  Diego agreed to speak with police and admitted bringing heroin and methamphetamine from San Diego, California to distribute in West Virginia.  Diego posted bond in Kanawha County Magistrate Court after his arrest and was, again, released from custody. 

In October of 2013, a federal indictment was returned against Diego charging him with drug and firearm offenses arising from the October 2012 arrest.  On November 5, 2013, members of the San Diego County Integrated Narcotic Task Force working drug interdiction in the San Diego, California International Airport seized more than $22,000 from Diego’s carry-on luggage.  They were not aware of the federal indictment and did not arrest Diego.

In October and November of 2013, Diego was living at a residence on Scenic Highway near Summersville, West Virginia.  Members of the Central West Virginia Drug Task Force (CWVDTF) used an informant to purchase heroin and methamphetamine on several occasions from a man living with Diego.  On November 18, 2013, task force agents from both MDENT and CWVDTF executed a search warrant at Diego’s residence.  Among other items, police seized more than 30 grams of methamphetamine, approximately 10 grams of heroin, fifteen firearms, and more than $16,000.  Diego was not home at the time of the search but drove by the residence while police were there.  He refused a Nicholas County Deputy’s command to stop and led police on a vehicle chase several miles along Scenic Highway.  The chase came to an end when members of the tactical entry team, who had already cleared the scene of the search warrant, disabled

Diego’s vehicle by shooting out its tires after he drove around their roadblock.
Diego has previously been convicted of several felony offenses in California including burglary and grand theft in 2003 and distribution of drugs in 2004 and 2007.

MDENT and CWVDTF conducted the investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Hanks handled the prosecution.  The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.

Updated January 7, 2015