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Press Release

Nicholas County Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Crime

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Lester Taylor Barnhouse, 43, of Craigsville, pleaded guilty today to possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on March 13, 2022, Barnhouse fled from law enforcement officers trying to arrest him. During the pursuit, Barnhouse hid a backpack under a waterfall in the woods near Nallen, Nicholas County. An officer following Barnhouse’s tracks in the snow found the backpack, which contained approximately 646.6 grams of methamphetamine, 129 grams of fentanyl, a loaded Taurus Millennium G2 pistol, and $6,740. Barnhouse admitted that he intended to sell the methamphetamine and fentanyl, and that the cash was proceeds from drug transactions.

Barnhouse is scheduled to be sentenced on January 23, 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.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the West Virginia State Police and the Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department.

Chief United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney R. Gregory McVey is prosecuting the case.

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. 2:22-cr-85.





Updated October 17, 2022

Drug Trafficking