Federal jury finds Detroit man guilty of heroin conspiracy
Defendant previously pleaded guilty to two other drug charges last week
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A federal jury sitting in Huntington returned a guilty verdict today in the trial of a Detroit man for his role in a Huntington heroin conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Charles Duncan Pippins, 49, of Detroit, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin following a jury trial that began on Tuesday. Last week, Pippins pled guilty to the other indicted charges – one count of distributing heroin and one count of possessing heroin with intent to distribute.
“I want to commend the outstanding work of the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department and our prosecutors, AUSAs Joe Adams and Matt Davis, who tried this case,” said U.S. Attorney Stuart. “We are dedicated to working night and day to make sure we stop this drug scourge.”
Witnesses for the United States testified that from the summer of 2013 to September 2016, Pippins conspired with others to distribute over 100 grams of heroin in the Huntington area. The evidence showed that during the course of the conspiracy, Pippins recruited multiple co-conspirators who transported heroin on his behalf from his residence in Detroit to Huntington. Witnesses testified that Pippins used the same individuals to distribute heroin, and to rent hotel rooms in their names, which he used for selling heroin. The evidence further showed that Pippins would front heroin to individuals to sell, and that they would bring the cash proceeds back to him at hotels in Huntington or at his residence in Detroit.
Pippins pleaded guilty last week to the other indicted charges, admitting that on September 12, 2016, deputies with the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department used a confidential informant to make a controlled purchase of heroin from Pippins. The informant traveled to the Days Inn Hotel located on U.S. Route 60 in Huntington, where Pippins distributed heroin to the informant. Deputies executed a search warrant on his room, and as agents entered, Pippins flushed heroin down the toilet. During the search of the room, deputies seized approximately six grams of heroin that Pippins admitted he intended to sell. An analyst with the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory confirmed that the heroin was mixed with fentanyl, a powerful opiate painkiller.
Pippins faces at least five and up to 40 years in federal prison for the heroin conspiracy. He also faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each of the other two drug charges. The sentencing is scheduled for April 30, 2018.
United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the trial.
This case is 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.
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