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Press Release

Parkersburg heroin dealers plead guilty to federal drug crimes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia
Investigation leads to discovery of heroin concealed in tubes of grease

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A man and woman from Parkersburg who were caught transporting heroin pleaded guilty today, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. David J. Kerns, 27, and Katie M. Kerns, 26 (no relation), entered their guilty pleas to possession with intent to distribute heroin.

On February 19, 2015, members of the West Virginia State Police stopped the vehicle in which David Kerns and Katie Kerns were driving in Parkersburg. Law enforcement had observed them cross into West Virginia from Ohio over the U.S. Route 50 Dupont Bridge. Troopers searched the vehicle and recovered approximately 10 ounces of heroin concealed in tubes of grease. At the plea hearing, the defendants admitted that David Kerns purchased the heroin for $20,000 from a source Katie Kerns introduced him to in Cincinnati. 

The defendants each face up to 20 years in federal prison. Katie Kerns is scheduled to be sentenced on January 18, 2017. David Kerns is scheduled to be sentenced on January 19, 2017.

This case was investigated by the West Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Hanks is handling the prosecution. The plea hearings were held before United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston.

This prosecution is 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 and heroin. 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 pills and heroin in communities across the Southern District. 

Updated October 11, 2016

Drug Trafficking