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Press Release

Charleston Crack Cocaine Dealer Enters Guilty Plea To Federal Drug Charge

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

Defendant William Richmond charged as part of Charleston’s West Side Drug Market Intervention initiative 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Charleston man faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty today in federal court to crack cocaine distribution, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced.  Thirty-one-year-old William Edward Richmond sold crack cocaine to a police informant on June 7 in exchange for cash.  The illegal drug transaction took place near the intersection of Park Avenue and Central Avenue on Charleston’s West Side. 

Richmond is scheduled to be sentenced on March 27, 2014, by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. 

Richmond is being prosecuted as part of the Charleston area’s Drug Market Intervention (DMI) initiative. 

The defendant was designated a member of the DMI A-list, which comprises the most serious offenders identified in the initiative. 

The Charleston Police Department Special Enforcement Unit conducted the investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Hanks is in charge of the prosecution. 

The DMI initiative was launched in February 2012 by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster, in collaboration with other federal, state, local law enforcement agencies and leaders representing several West Side community development organizations. A continuation of the DMI initiative was announced earlier this month in Charleston. 

Over the past several months, the Charleston Police Department and other law enforcement agencies have conducted undercover operations and completed investigations culminating in federal charges being filed against thirteen individuals.  

Drug Market Intervention, first implemented in High Point, North Carolina, and replicated with success in several other cities, including Huntington, W.Va., is a strategic problem-solving initiative aimed at closing down drug markets that breed crimes of violence and disorder. 

The DMI strategy also included a staged community intervention that was held earlier this month at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church on Charleston’s West Side.  The community intervention meeting offered a rare second chance for five low-level, non-violent offenders to end their criminal activity and avoid being prosecuted, if they obey a set of strict guidelines established by law enforcement.  The Dec. 12 community intervention call-in meeting was attended by offenders’ relatives, concerned citizens, and faith-based leaders from the West Side community.  The call-in meeting was organized and attended by federal, state and local law enforcement officials. 

Updated January 7, 2015