Local Men Face Federal Drug Charges
BECKLEY, W.Va. – United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced that two men facing drug charges appeared in federal court in Beckley today before United States District Judge Irene Berger. Michael Harshaw Jr., 37, of Hinton, West Virginia, pled guilty to using a telephone to facilitate a felony drug offense and to possessing alprazolam (Xanax) without a prescription. Harshaw admitted that on October 3, 2012, he had a telephone conversation with an individual cooperating with law enforcement authorities in which they set up a meeting to do a drug deal. Later that day the two met in Hinton, and Harshaw sold the individual five oxycodone pills. Harshaw also admitted that on October 10, 2012, authorities searched his home in Hinton and found that he had 17 Xanax pills containing alprazolam, a highly addictive controlled substance. Harshaw did not have a prescription for the pills. He faces up to ten years in prison and a fine of $500,000 when he is scheduled on June 26, 2014. The case was investigated by the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
William Smith, 40, of Crab Orchard, was sentenced to one year and two months in prison for distributing oxycodone. Smith pled guilty in November of 2013, admitting that on January 3, 2013, he sold two oxycodone pills to a person cooperating with law enforcement authorities. The drug deal took place at Smith’s residence in Crab Orchard. The case was investigated by the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office Drug and Narcotic Investigative Unit and the Beckley Police Department Narcotics Unit.
These cases were 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. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers in communities across the Southern District.