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Press Release

Wayne Woman Pleads Guilty In Major Federal Drug Investigation

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

Huntington, W.Va. – Ariell Varney, 23, of Wayne, West Virginia, pleaded guilty today in federal court to a charge of possession with intent to distribute MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced. On November 20, 2013, Varney was pulled over for a traffic violation in the 600 block of 8th Street in Huntington by members of the Huntington Police Department. During the stop, a drug dog gave a positive alert on the trunk of Varney’s car.  During a subsequent search of the car, a pill bottle was located that contained an empty capsule and a similar capsule that contained a substance that field tested positive for MDMA. Also in the bottle were eight other tablets with no markings. 

At the time of the stop, Varney was being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration for her connection to the drug trafficking activities of Kenneth Dewitt Newman, also known as “K-Kutta.”  As a result of the investigation, Newman and 14 other individuals were charged with various offenses related to a drug trafficking conspiracy in the Huntington area. Varney was living in Miami, Florida, during the investigation, and is believed to have been a supplier of MDMA to the Newman organization.  In addition to MDMA, Newman’s organization was responsible for selling cocaine, heroin, prescription pills, marijuana, and crack cocaine.

Varney faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine when she is sentenced on August 18, 2014.  Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers is presiding over the case. 

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.  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. 

Updated January 7, 2015