Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

You are here

Justice News

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

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ohio Man Admits Possessing Pills And Heroin To Distribute In Rand Area

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Joseph Lee Church, 36, of Columbus, Ohio, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Charleston to possessing various controlled substances with the intent of selling them in the Rand, West Virginia area. Church admitted that a backpack seized from him by Kanawha County Deputy Sheriff Jason Mace on December 10, 2011, in Rand, contained prescription medication and heroin which he intended to sell in the area.  The backpack was found to contain heroin, which is a Schedule I controlled substance, as well as various prescription pills, including hydromorphone, amphetamine, oxycodone and hydrocodone, which are Schedule II and III controlled substances.

Church faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine when he is sentenced August 12, 2014. United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston conducted today’s plea hearing.

This case is 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 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. 

Updated January 7, 2015