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Press Release

Three Defendants Sentenced for Roles in Federal Heroin Conspiracy

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

Comprehensive drug investigation led to the indictment of nearly a dozen defendants, all of whom have now pled guilty

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Three defendants implicated in a federal heroin conspiracy were sentenced this week, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Jennifer Benson and Bernard Spann of Parkersburg were sentenced today to 71 and 60 months in prison, respectively, and Dennis Carter of Detroit was sentenced on Monday to 188 months  imprisonment, for guilty pleas each previously  entered  to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.  Stuart commended the collaborative investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Parkersburg Drug Task Force, the West Virginia State Police, the Wood County Sheriff’s Department, and the Police Departments of the cities of Parkersburg, Vienna, and Williamstown.

“This case brought down a significant heroin distribution network operating in and around Parkersburg,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “The citizens of Wood County are no doubt safer as a result of this prosecution.  I applaud the thorough investigation conducted by our federal, state and local partners which resulted in 11 convictions and lengthy sentences in this case.”

Benson, Spann, and Carter previously admitted to their involvement with several other individuals in distributing heroin at various locations throughout the Parkersburg area. Benson and Carter admitted distributing between one and three kilograms of heroin, while Spann admitted to distributing between 100 and 400 grams of heroin.

Debra Martin, Joseph Reeder-Shaw, Ralph White, Jonathan Brown, Heather Wells, Kennedy Walker, Rachel Kuhn and Sir Pritis Williams, all codefendants involved in the same conspiracy as the three defendants sentenced this week, will be sentenced in August.

Assistant United States Attorney John Frail is in charge of these prosecutions. The plea hearings were held before United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin.

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 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 pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers and heroin in communities across the Southern District. 


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Updated June 21, 2018

Drug Trafficking