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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Kanawha County man sentenced to over four years in federal prison for role in California-to-West Virginia drug conspiracy

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Kanawha County man was sentenced today to four and a half years in federal prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for his role in a California-to-West Virginia methamphetamine conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Brian Ashby, 38, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Ashby admitted that in December 2015, he received approximately five pounds of crystal methamphetamine that he acquired from a source in California. Ashby further admitted that he distributed the methamphetamine in the Charleston area. On January 11, 2016, law enforcement executed a search warrant on Ashby’s property and located over 15 grams of crystal methamphetamine. Ashby also admitted that near the end of February 2016, he traveled to Louisville to obtain 10 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and paid approximately $40,000 to an individual for the drugs. Ashby additionally admitted that he attempted to obtain another 10 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in March 2016. Law enforcement later seized $70,000 in cash from Ashby that he intended to use in that drug deal.

This prosecution is the result of a multi-agency investigation that led to an eight-count indictment implicating several defendants, some of whom have already been sentenced to prison. Velarian Sylvester Carter, of Beckley, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. Daniel Ortiz-Rivera, a Mexican national, was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. Miguel Tafolla-Montoya, a Mexican national, was sentenced to 10 years and 11 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 of methamphetamine. Kelly Newcomb, of Nevada, and Danielle Dessaray Estrada, of Los Angeles, were both sentenced to a year and a day in prison for interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime. Marco Antonio Bojorquez-Rojas, a Mexican national residing in California, was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime.

Three other defendants have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Rafael Garcia Serrato, of Los Angeles, Cesar Garcia, also of Los Angeles, and Miguel Alejandro Robles-Ibarra, a Mexican national, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.

The FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Charleston Police Department, and the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald is in charge of these prosecutions. United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., imposed the sentence and is presiding over these cases.

These cases are 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 illegal drugs, including methamphetamine. 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 illegal drugs in communities across the Southern District.

Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Updated February 14, 2017