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Press Release

Five Indicted In Connection with Maryland-to-Virginia Heroin Pipeline that Resulted in Fatal Overdose

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

Harrisonburg, VIRGINIA – A federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment this week charging five individuals in connection with heroin trafficking from Maryland into Shenandoah County, Virginia that caused one fatal and one non-fatal overdose, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced today.

In an indictment returned under seal on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 and unsealed this week after arrests were made, the grand jury has charged the following:  

Craig Allen Kidwell, 52, and Norman Lynda Kidwell, 54, both of Mount Jackson, Va., were each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of a substance containing a detectable amount of heroin resulting in death and resulting in serious bodily injury and one count of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute resulting in the death of J.H. and the serious bodily injury of J.W. 

James Harold Lichliter, 52, of Mauretown, Va., Stacy Allen Marston, 42, of Woodstock, Va., and Jonathan Dale Neice, 42, of Woodstock, Va., were each charged with one count of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute resulting in the death of J.H. and the serious bodily injury of J.W. 

“Over the last two years, more Americans have died from fatal opioid overdoses than the total number of troops killed during the Vietnam War,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated.  “In order to mitigate this public health crisis, we will aggressively prosecute street dealers and corrupt health-care providers whose unlawful activities directly result in harm to others.  I am particularly grateful for the hard work and determination of our state and local partners in Shenandoah County in bringing everyone involved in this deadly distribution chain to justice.  I also appreciate the valuable assistance provided by our federal partners in Maryland in this case, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland and the Drug Enforcement Administration.”  

“The resulting indictments should serve as a warning of what will happen to those who make it their business to exploit and profit from the members of our community. We will remain relentless with our local partners in holding drug dealers accountable for poisoning our citizens,” stated Special Agent in Charge Jesse R. Fong of the Drug Enforcement Administration Washington Division                                                                                                         

According to the indictment, beginning around June 2017 a Maryland-based drug-trafficking network began selling controlled substances to Virginia-based drug traffickers, who, in turn, transported those drugs to Shenandoah County for redistribution.

Defendants Craig Kidwell and his wife Norma Kidwell are alleged to have repeatedly traveled from their home in Shenandoah County to Maryland to obtain heroin from the Maryland-based drug-trafficking organization. At times, the heroin Craig Kidwell and Norma Kidwell obtained from their Maryland-based source was mixed with other drugs, such as fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl.

After obtaining heroin, Craig Kidwell and Norma Kidwell transported the drugs back to Shenandoah County where the drugs were redistributed to others, including, but not limited to, co-defendants Lichliter, Marston, and Neice, who redistributed the drugs to others around Shenandoah County.

As claimed in the indictment, as a direct result of the defendants’ drug distribution activities, two overdoses occurred, one of which resulted in the death of victim J.H.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Virginia State Police, Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, and Woodstock Police Department with the assistance of the Shenandoah County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.  Assistant United States Attorney Grayson A. Hoffman will prosecute the case for the United States.

A Grand Jury Indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated May 24, 2019