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Press Release

Two More Plead Guilty to Roles in Huntington Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization

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

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Kayla Dawn Powell, 37, of Hurricane, and Donald James Duty, 52, of Huntington, pleaded guilty today to distribution of fentanyl. Powell and Duty admitted to their roles in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl in the Huntington area.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Powell admitted to participating in the distribution of methamphetamine and fentanyl with others from at least June 2023 through November 2023. During that period, Powell received quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl from a source or from others at the source’s direction in the Huntington area that she distributed to various customers in the Southern District of West Virginia.

On June 6, 2023, Powell sold approximately 3.6 grams of fentanyl to a confidential informant for $250 in a vehicle parked at a business on MacCorkle Avenue in St. Albans. Powell admitted to the transaction and to arranging it with the confidential informant beforehand.

On November 15, 2023, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Duty’s Jackson Avenue residence in Huntington and seized 19 firearms, approximately 73 grams of suspected fentanyl and approximately 108 grams of suspected methamphetamine. Duty admitted that he intended to distribute the seized fentanyl and methamphetamine.

Powell is scheduled to be sentenced on May 28, 2024, and Duty is scheduled to be sentenced on May 20, 2024. Each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine.

Powell and Duty are among 27 individuals indicted in a 53-count indictment that charges the defendants with distributing methamphetamine and fentanyl transported from Detroit, Michigan, in Huntington and other locations within the Southern District of West Virginia. Co-defendant Denzil Roger Grant II, 50, of Hurricane, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a quantity of methamphetamine on January 17, 2024, and awaits sentencing. The indictment against the other defendants remains pending. An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), the West Virginia State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. MDENT is composed of the Charleston Police Department, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the Nitro Police Department, the St. Albans Police Department and the South Charleston Police Department.

United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the hearings. Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph F. Adams and Stephanie Taylor are prosecuting the case.

The investigation was part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and is the keystone of the Department of Justice’s drug reduction strategy. OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations, transnational criminal organizations and money laundering organizations that present a significant threat to the public safety, economic, or national security of the United States.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:23-cr-180. 




Updated January 22, 2024

Drug Trafficking