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Justice News

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

Friday, July 1, 2016

Second meth mule pleads guilty for role in California-to-West Virginia drug conspiracy

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A woman caught transporting a significant load of crystal methamphetamine from California to West Virginia pleaded guilty today to a federal drug charge, announced Acting United States Attorney Carol Casto. Kelly Newcomb, 56, of Nevada, entered her guilty plea to interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime.

Newcomb admitted that on March 10, 2016, she rented a vehicle in Las Vegas and drove with a codefendant to California, where 10 pounds of crystal methamphetamine were concealed in the vehicle for transportation to West Virginia. Newcomb and the codefendant then began the drive to West Virginia, and during the course of the trip Newcomb learned about the concealed drugs. Newcomb further admitted that on March 18, 2016, she arrived in West Virginia, rented a room at the Super 8 Motel in Huntington, and followed the instructions of another codefendant by leaving the vehicle unlocked in the parking lot. After Newcomb’s arrival, an undercover officer, in accordance with instructions obtained through a cooperating individual, removed the spare tire where the drugs were concealed. 

Newcomb faces up to five years in federal prison when she is sentenced on October 6, 2016.

Another woman used as a mule to transport methamphetamine during the course of this conspiracy, Danielle Dessaray Estrada, 21, of Los Angeles, previously pleaded guilty and faces up to five years in federal prison when she is sentenced on October 6, 2016. 

This prosecution is the result of a multi-agency investigation which led to an eight-count indictment implicating 14 defendants, including Estrada. Estrada’s codefendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The FBI, DHS Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Charleston Police Department, and the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald is in charge of the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.

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 illegal drugs, including methamphetamine. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of illegal drugs in communities across the Southern District.

Drug Trafficking
Updated July 1, 2016