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Press Release

Huntington Man Sentenced for Role in Federal Pill Conspiracy

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

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Huntington man caught in 2017 assisting in the illegal sale of pain pills was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Joseph W. Melbar, 54, previously pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute oxycodone in federal court in Huntington. U.S. Attorney Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the West Virginia State Police.

“We continue to shut down drug networks in Huntington – no matter the size of the organization or whether the dealers are local or out-of-state --  one by one, we are putting them out of business,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. 

On September 15, 2017, Melbar helped arrange the sale of oxycodone pills to a confidential informant working with the DEA. The drug deal was scheduled to take place at Melbar’s residence on Collis Avenue in Huntington, where the informant met with Melbar and codefendants Lorie Mayhon and Curtis Holcomb to complete the transaction.  After discussing the terms of the deal – 500 oxycodone pills in exchange for $20,000 cash, Mayhon and Holcomb left Melbar’s residence to pick up another codefendant to acquire the pills.  After the codefendants picked up the pills, a trooper with the West Virginia State Police conducted a traffic stop on their vehicle on Artisan Avenue in Huntington. During the stop, the trooper seized 454 thirty mg oxycodone pills that Holcomb had concealed in his sock.    

Holcomb was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison on May 14, 2018, after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute oxycodone.

Mayhon is scheduled to be sentenced on June 4, 2018, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.

Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams is responsible for the prosecutions.  The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.

This case is being prosecuted as 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 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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Updated May 29, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Prescription Drugs