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Press Release

Two defendants headed to federal prison for participation in heroin conspiracy

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

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Detroit man and Huntington woman who participated with others distributing heroin in the Huntington area between 2014 and 2016 were sentenced to federal prison today, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Derrick C. Morris, 27, was sentenced to six years in federal prison after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. Dorothy D. Pannell, 23, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin. 

Between November 2014 and June 8, 2016, Morris conspired with others, including Mark Bush, to distribute heroin that was transported to Huntington from the Detroit area. During the conspiracy, Morris received heroin that he would distribute in Huntington. Morris subsequently provided proceeds from the distributions back to individuals in Detroit. Morris also enlisted the aid of multiple individuals to conduct wire transfers of cash from Huntington to the Detroit area. At today’s hearing, the Court found that Morris was responsible for the distribution of over a kilogram of heroin in the Huntington area.

Pannell previously admitted she participated in the conspiracy during April and May of 2016. During this period, Pannell allowed Bush to store heroin in her residence located at 729 Oxford Drive in Huntington. Pannell further allowed Bush to retrieve heroin from her residence on various occasions to make distributions in Huntington. On May 23, 2016, agents with the Huntington FBI Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at Pannell’s residence. During the search, agents seized approximately 85 grams of heroin and three firearms.

Bush was sentenced to 17 and a half years in federal prison for his involvement in the conspiracy. 

The Huntington FBI Drug Task Force conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams handled the prosecutions. Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentences.

These prosecutions were brought 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 August 21, 2017

Drug Trafficking