Huntington Man Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl and Cocaine Conspiracy
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Huntington man pleaded guilty today in connection with his participation in a large fentanyl and cocaine distribution ring operating in the Huntington area. William Raeshaun Byrd, 31, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Byrd admitted that he participated in the conspiracy from the Summer of 2020 to July of 2021. During the conspiracy, Byrd frequently received shipments of fentanyl and cocaine which were transported from Columbus, Ohio to Huntington by vehicle. For each shipment, Byrd received a minimum of 1 kilogram of fentanyl and 1 kilogram of cocaine. The drugs were provided to Byrd on consignment and Byrd would pay for the drugs after he distributed them in Huntington. Byrd further admitted that he operated two residences in Huntington as locations to accept the shipments and distribute the drugs.
Byrd was arrested on July 29, 2021, after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging multiple individuals in the investigation. A search warrant was also executed at Byrd’s residence on that date and law enforcement officers seized a number of items including two firearms and over $113,000 in United States currency. Byrd admitted that he possessed the firearms and that the money constituted proceeds from drug sales.
Byrd faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison when he is sentenced on January 31, 2022.
United States Attorney William S. Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Southern West Virginia TOC-West Task Force, which consists of the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department, the Hurricane Police Department, and the Marshall University Police Department. The West Virginia State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Violent Crime and Drug Task Force West provide investigative support to the task force. The Ohio Highway Patrol, the Kentucky State Police, and the FBI and DEA in Columbus also assisted in the investigation.
United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams is handling the prosecution.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
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. 3:21-cr-00109.