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Press Release

Three codefendants sentenced on Federal heroin charges

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Three codefendants were sentenced in federal court today in Charleston, West Virginia, for federal heroin charges, announced United States Attorney Booth Goodwin. Michael Richard, 32, of Charleston, was sentenced to five months in federal prison and five months to be served on home confinement for distribution of heroin. Cassandra Washington, 26, of Charleston, was sentenced to credit for time served for aiding and abetting to possession with intent to distribute heroin. Washington had spent approximately one year and four months incarcerated prior to her sentencing. James Christopher Harris, 25, of Detroit, was sentenced to three years of probation with the conditions of five months of home confinement and 200 hours of community service for aiding and abetting to possession with intent to distribute heroin. All three defendants previously pleaded guilty to the federal drug charges in September of 2015.

Richard admitted that on April 10, 2014, he sold a half gram of heroin to a confidential informant working with the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT). The drug deal took place in a house that Richard shared with Washington at 7 Cherry Lane in Elkview. On the same day as the drug deal, MDENT executed a search warrant of the residence and found Richard, Washington, and Harris in the house. As part of the search, law enforcement seized heroin, digital scales, and sandwich bags used to package heroin. Harris admitted that he had transported the heroin from Detroit to the Elkview residence for Richard and Washington to sell. Washington admitted that she planned to sell the heroin provided by Harris.

The successful prosecution of Richard, Washington, and Harris was the result of an investigation conducted by the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team.

This case was 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 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 opiate painkillers and heroin in communities across the Southern District.

Updated December 10, 2015

Drug Trafficking