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Justice News

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

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Project Parkersburg Update: Testing Indicates Nearly 291 Grams of Fentanyl Seized; Enough to Kill Parkersburg, Charleston & Huntington

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two Parkersburg residents arrested as part of Project Parkersburg – a major takedown and dismantling of a multi-state drug trafficking organization (DTO) responsible for distributing methamphetamine and heroin – appeared in federal court today, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Jeffrey Hoyler, 56, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, while Nicholas Ryan Easton, 29, was sentenced to 30 months in prison.  Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, the Parkersburg Police Department, the Dayton Ohio Police Department, and the Parkersburg Narcotics and Violent Crime Task Force.  The long-term, joint investigation resulted in at least 29 individuals being charged in federal and state court, the seizure of 150 pounds of  methamphetamine and, what was originally believed to be 4 pounds of heroin, have been determined to be comprised of nearly 291 grams of fentanyl.  If the fentanyl in this case had made it to the streets of the Parkersburg region, nearly 150,000 West Virginians could have died.

“Enough fentanyl to kill nearly 150,000 people,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “While we originally believed that we seized four pounds of heroin as part of this operation, testing has recently shown that a significant portion of the seizure was comprised of nearly 291 grams of fentanyl.  This is both scary and satisfying.  Scary because so many West Virginians could have lost their lives and satisfying because law enforcement was able to stop this fentanyl and shut down a major drug organization.”

Stuart continued, “This is the largest meth bust in West Virginia history – and Ohio history for that matter where the meth was physically seized. Thanks to the tremendous work of federal, state and local law enforcement in Project Parkersburg, hundreds of pounds of meth, heroin and enough fentanyl to kill more than the combined populations of Parkersburg, Huntington and Charleston were seized before hitting the streets and a large, multi-state drug organization was shut down.”

Hoyler admitted to transporting cash to Phoenix, Arizona at the direction of co-defendant Terrence McGuirk and pooling the money with co-defendants Aurelius Edmonds and Antoine Terry in order to purchase approximately 150 pounds of methamphetamine which was intercepted by the FBI in Dayton, Ohio on September 19, 2018.  Hoyler faces 10 years to life in federal prison when he is sentenced on July 17, 2019. 

Easton previously pled guilty in December 2018 where he admitted selling between 50 and 200 grams of methamphetamine.

Hoyler, and Easton were charged with 15 other defendants in a two-count federal indictment in October 2018.  Theodore “T.J.” Gibson, Edward Marks, Amy Rake, Troy Pastorino, and Colleen Moyle have pled guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing. 

United States District Judge Irene C. Berger presided over the hearings.  Assistant United States Attorney Joshua C. Hanks is responsible for the prosecution.



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Drug Trafficking
Updated April 3, 2019