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Press Release

Two Men Indicted By Federal Grand Jury On Prescription Drug And Firearm Possession Charges

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

BECKLEY, W.Va. – United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced that two men were indicted on March 13 by a federal grand jury sitting in Beckley in connection with illegal prescription drug distribution and firearm possession offenses. According to a two-count indictment, Jody Lowell Sowder, 36 of Scarbro, Fayette County, W.Va., allegedly distributed oxycodone on September 25, 2012 near Oak Hill, W.Va.  The indictment also alleges that also on September 25, 2012, Sowder possessed a semi-automatic pistol during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. 

According to a separate six-count indictment filed yesterday, Bobby White, 66, of Gordon, W.Va., allegedly sold a quantity of alprazolam, also known as “Xanax,” on July 5, 2010 near Danville, Boone County, W.Va. The indictment also alleges that White sold quantities of hydrocodone and oxycodone in August 2012 near Boone Co., W.Va.  The indictment further alleges that White possessed a .32 caliber pistol during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime on February 12, 2013. 

Sowder faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine on Count 1; and up to five years to life in prison on Count 2 if convicted. 

White faces up to life in prison, a $1 million fine on each drug charge and a $250,000 fine on the firearm charge if convicted. 

The investigations were conducted by the Oak Hill Police Department, the U.S. 119 Drug Task Force and the West Virginia State Police.  Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Hanks and Steven Loew are in charge of the prosecutions. 

The matters are being brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in the United States by networking existing local programs targeting gun crime.

The matters are also 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.  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 in communities across the Southern District. 

Note: The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated January 7, 2015