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Press Release

Two defendants sentenced for Los Angeles-to-Mercer County hydromorphone scheme

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

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – Two men were sentenced today for federal drug crimes for their roles in trafficking pain pills from California to West Virginia, announced Acting United States Attorney Carol Casto. Lawrence Ray Bennett, 31, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to seven years and three months in federal prison. Peter B. McKinley, Jr., 33, of Princeton, was sentenced to three years and a month in federal prison. Both Bennett and McKinley previously pleaded guilty in late 2015 to conspiracy to distribute hydromorphone.

Bennett admitted that from July 2014 to September 2015, he mailed packages of pain pills from Los Angeles to McKinley in Mercer County. McKinley admitted that he sold the pills in the Bluefield and Princeton areas, and then mailed packages containing a portion of the drug proceeds back to Bennett in California. During the investigation of the case, agents seized over 2,500 hydromorphone pills and approximately $19,000 in cash.  

The Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force and the United States Postal Service investigated the case. Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber imposed the sentences.

These cases were 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 February 17, 2016

Drug Trafficking