HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Huntington man was sentenced today to 12 years and six months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for his role in a multi-state drug trafficking organization (DTO) that distributed large amounts of fentanyl, methamphetamine, oxycodone, heroin, cocaine and cocaine base, also known as “crack,” in the Huntington area.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Christopher Leon Vest, also known as “Nick,” 34, admitted that he participated in the conspiracy from the summer of 2020 to July 2021. Vest frequently obtained quantities of methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine to distribute to various customers in the Huntington area. Vest provided the drugs to customers on consignment and was aware his customers intended to redistribute the drugs. Vest also admitted that he operated two residences in Huntington as locations to receive deliveries and to distribute the drugs.
On July 29, 2021, Vest was arrested after an indictment was returned charging multiple individuals in the investigation and a search warrant was executed at his residence on that date. Law enforcement officers seized a number of items including four firearms and over $86,000 in United States currency. Vest admitted that he possessed the firearms and that the money constituted proceeds from drug sales. Search warrants were also executed at another residence operated by Vest. During that search, law enforcement officers seized over a kilogram of cocaine, 800 grams of fentanyl, and 450 grams of methamphetamine that Vest intended to distribute and two additional firearms.
United States Attorney Will 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. The Southern West Virginia TOC-West Task Force consists of the Cabell County Sheriff’s Office, the Hurricane Police Department and the Marshall University Police Department with support from the West Virginia State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Violent Crime and Drug Task Force West. The Ohio Highway Patrol, the Kentucky State Police, and the FBI and DEA in Columbus, Ohio also assisted in the investigation.
United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph F. Adams and Courtney L. Cremeans prosecuted the case.
The investigation was part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and is the keystone of the Department of Justice’s drug reduction strategy. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations, transnational criminal organizations, and money laundering organizations that present a significant threat to the public safety, economic, or national security of the United States.
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-109.