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Press Release

Kanawha County Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug and Gun Charges

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Kanawha County man pled guilty today to federal drug and gun charges.  James Michael Hill, 50, of South Charleston, pled guilty to three counts of distribution of marijuana and one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.  Stuart praised the investigation conducted by MDENT.   

“A convicted felon with multiple firearms.  Marijuana is illegal and my office aggressively prosecutes its distribution,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “22 pounds of pot, nearly $35,000, and firearms.  This is an egregious case and another example of the criminal activity underlying the marijuana industry. I want to thank MDENT for excellent work in the case.  We rely on the excellent work of our task forces who, in turn, are funded by the illegal assets underlying these types of cases.”  

Hill admitted that on April 30, 2018, he sold marijuana to a confidential informant.  He also admitted to having an associate of his sell marijuana to a confidential informant on May 7 and May 9 of 2018.  Based on those sales and a subsequent search warrant, MDENT detectives were able to seize over 10 kilograms of marijuana, $34,904 in U.S. currency, two luxury vehicles, and five firearms belonging to Hill.  Hill agreed that the money, vehicles, and firearms were tied to his drug operation and proceeds.     Hill was previously convicted in federal court in April of 2001 for distribution of a cocaine base.   

Hill faces up to 25 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on May 21, 2019.

United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. presided over the plea hearing.  Assistant United States Attorney L. Alexander Hamner is handling the prosecution.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.


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Updated February 21, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods