Operation Smoke and Mirrors Update: Kanawha County Man Sentenced to Prison for Role in Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Detroit man and a Huntington woman who participated with others distributing heroin in the Huntington area between 2014 and 2016 pleaded guilty today to federal drug charges, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Derrick C. Morris, 27, entered his guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. Dorothy D. Pannell, 23, entered her guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute heroin.
Between November 2014 and June 8, 2016, Morris admitted that he conspired with other individuals to distribute heroin that was transported to Huntington from the Detroit area. During the conspiracy, Morris received heroin that he would distribute in Huntington. Morris subsequently provided proceeds from the distributions back to individuals in Detroit. Morris enlisted the aid of multiple individuals to conduct wire transfers of cash from Huntington to the Detroit area. Morris also admitted that he used multiple residences in Huntington to distribute heroin, including residences located at 1922 7th Avenue and 612 Trenton Place. Agents were able to seize heroin and firearms from the residences during the investigation. As part of his plea, Morris admitted that he was responsible for the distribution of up to three kilograms of heroin.
Pannell admitted that she participated in the conspiracy during the months of April and May of 2016. During this period, Pannell permitted another individual to store heroin in her residence located at 729 Oxford Drive in Huntington. Pannell further permitted the individual to retrieve heroin from her residence on various occasions to make distributions in Huntington. On May 23, 2016, agents with the Huntington FBI Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at Pannell’s residence. During the search, agents seized approximately 85 grams of heroin and three firearms.
Morris faces at least five and up to 40 years in federal prison. Pannell faces up to 20 years in federal prison. They are both scheduled to be sentenced on August 21, 2017.
The Huntington FBI Drug Task Force conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams is handling the prosecution. The plea hearings were held before Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.
These prosecutions are 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 communities across the Southern District.