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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Defendants Who Conspired with Others to Traffic in Analogue Substance Sentenced

Brian Ramey and Lakyn Wells to Spend Time in Federal Prison

ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. announced an additional two sentencings today in the ongoing prosecution of a 22-member conspiracy that brought a controlled substance analogue to Southwest Virginia from as far away as China.

Brian Junior Ramey, 24, previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams of alpha-PVP, a controlled substance analogue. Today in District Court, Ramey was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.

In a separate hearing, Lakyn Jade Wells, 28, who previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 10 kilograms of alpha-PVP, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison.  

“This prosecution has put an end to a trafficking operation that was bringing large amounts of these dangerous substances into Southwest Virginia,” United States Attorney Fishwick said today. “The sentences receives by these defendants should serve as an example that the Department of Justice takes the trafficking of these analogue substances just as seriously as other illegally drugs and will be treated as such.”

According to evidence presented at previous hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Erin M. Kulpa, Ramey, and others members of the conspiracy, disturbed alpha-PVP, a controlled substance analogue, in Southwest Virginia between 2012 and 2015. Members of the conspiracy placed orders of the powder form of alpha-PVP from distributors based in Florida and China and had these items shipped to residential addresses in Wise, Virginia. The conspirators would retrieve the packages and distribute the contents to mid-and-low level dealers in and around Wise, Virginia for distribution to alpha-PVP users.

Members of the conspiracy also regularly transported the hard form of alpha-PVP, commonly known as “Gravel” from suppliers in North Carolina and Tennessee to Wise, Virginia for distribution. As part of the conspiracy, members would break the larger quantities of “Gravel” into smaller amounts for sale to drug users, typically .5 to 1 gram amounts.

The investigation of the case was conducted by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force, the Virginia State Police, the Big Stone Gap Police Department, the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Norton Police Department, the Dickenson County Sheriff’s Office, the Sullivan County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Office, the Coeburn Police Department, the Clintwood Police Department and the Wise Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Erin M. Kulpa prosecuted the case for the United States.

Drug Trafficking
Updated August 10, 2016