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Press Release

Las Vegas Man Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl Crime

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

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Raymond Jaquette Howard, 34, of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Howard admitted to selling approximately 1.01 grams of fentanyl to a confidential informant at a Huntington motel on September 22, 2021. On November 16, 2021, law enforcement officer’s searched Howard’s motel room and found approximately 4.6 pounds of fentanyl and a loaded Glock 43x pistol hidden in the ceiling. Howard admitted that he intended to sell the fentanyl.

Howard further admitted to directing co-defendant David Anthony Wellman, 38, of Huntington, to sell quantities of fentanyl between September 2021 and December 2021. Wellman pleaded guilty to distribution of fentanyl on September 28, 2022.

On December 24, 2021, law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle in which Howard was a passenger. Officers searched the vehicle and found approximately 399.6 grams of fentanyl in a backpack. Howard admitted that he intended to sell the fentanyl or direct others to sell the fentanyl on his behalf.

Howard is scheduled to be sentenced on January 17, 2023, and faces a mandatory minimum of  10 years and up to life in prison, five years of supervised release, and a $10 million fine.

“This case resulted in the seizure of a massive amount of fentanyl and removed an out-of-state supplier of this poison from our streets,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “I commend the investigative work of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Violent Crime and Drug Task Force West, and the West Virginia State Police.”

United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie S. Taylor is prosecuting the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (SOS), an enforcement surge that has sought to reduce the supply of deadly synthetic opioids in high impact areas.

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. 3:22-cr-102.






Updated October 11, 2022

Drug Trafficking