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Press Release

Cross Lanes Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison for Trafficking Fentanyl

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced that Joseph Lee Harper, 35, was sentenced today on two federal drug trafficking charges. Harper was sentenced to 168 months – 14 years – in federal prison on each charge, to run currently, for possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute and distribution of fentanyl.  At sentencing, the Court found that Harper was a career offender under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, given his prior criminal history of drug trafficking. Upon completion of his prison sentence, the defendant will serve a term of three years of supervised release.

“120 grams of fentanyl. It’s fentanyl dealers like Harper that have devastated families and communities throughout West Virginia.  The number of lives lost to fentanyl-related overdose deaths is staggering,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “Dealers like Harper will not be let off the hook lightly for their crimes.”  

Harper previously pled guilty and admitted that on June 10, 2019, he sold over four grams of fentanyl to a confidential informant in return for $700. The sale occurred at the Speedway in Cross Lanes. Harper also admitted that on June 12, 2019, he had approximately 26 grams of fentanyl concealed behind an air duct in his Cross Lanes residence. Officers executing a search warrant located the fentanyl when they searched Harper’s residence. Inside Harper’s residence, officers also located the United States currency tied to the earlier controlled drug sale conducted by Harper. In a post-arrest interview, Harper ultimately admitted to trafficking 120 grams of fentanyl from Huntington to the Cross Lanes area.

The Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) conducted the investigation. Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Kristin F. Scott handled the prosecution.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:19-cr-00300.


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Updated October 13, 2020