You are here

Justice News

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Former Pennington Gap Police Chief Sentenced On Drug Conspiracy And Burglary Charges

BIG STONE GAP, VIRGINIA -- The former police chief of the Pennington Gap, Virginia Police Department, who pleaded guilty in January to felony charges related to his involvement in the distribution of prescription pain killers and the burglary of a pharmacy, was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Big Stone Gap.

William Bryan Young, 39, of Duffield, Va., pled guilty in January to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute oxycodone and one count of burglary of a pharmacy, related to the burglary of the Rite-Aid pharmacy in Pennington Gap, Virginia, on September 28, 2012. Young’s co-defendants, Kevin Andrew Young, 35, of Duffield, Va., and Chris Miles, 35, of Duffield, Va., previously entered guilty pleas to one count of burglary of a pharmacy.

Today in District Court, Young was sentenced to 108 months in prison and three years of supervised release thereafter. In addition, he was ordered to pay $11,571 in restitution.

“Rather than using his police power to protect and serve, William Bryan Young abused his authority to facilitate his drug habit,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “Young arranged numerous transactions in which he sold prescription medication to other drug abusers. He even coordinated a commercial burglary as part of his ongoing, desperate search for pills. Mr. Young tarnished the badge he once wore and betrayed the trust of the people of Pennington Gap. This sad case demonstrates how pervasive and dangerous prescription drug abuse can be, and how it pervades all levels of society. This office will continue to bring a comprehensive approach to the prescription drug problem, combining strong enforcement with education and treatment.”

“William Bryan Young not only violated the law, but he also violated the trust placed in him by the public that he was sworn to serve and protect,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Carl Vasilko. “ATF remains committed to aggressively investigate any person who commits firearm related violent crime in our communities.”

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Lee, in the Spring of 2012, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) began investigating William Bryan Young’s associations with known drug distributors in Lee County, Virginia. Their investigation, aided by other state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies, determined that William Bryan Young was a long-time user of controlled substances, had distributed controlled substances while employed as the police chief, and that he had orchestrated the burglary of the Rite Aid pharmacy in Pennington Gap, Virginia to obtain prescription pain killers.

Specifically, the investigation determined that on September 28, 2012, William Bryan Young sent all other Pennington Gap Police Department personnel home to ensure that he would be the only police officer working the night shift. At approximately 2:50 a.m. a burglary of the Rite-Aid pharmacy in Pennington Gap, Virginia occurred. Just prior to the burglary, William Bryan Young, who was on duty at the time, contacted officers with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to determine their positions relative to the location of the pharmacy. After determining that there were no law enforcement officers in close proximity to the pharmacy, William Bryan Young contacted Kevin Young, Jimmy Johnson and Chris Miles to tell them it was clear for them to break-in to the Rite Aid pharmacy. Kevin Young drove himself, Johnson and Miles to the Rite-Aid. Miles broke into the Rite-Aid pharmacy through the drive-thru window and stole approximately 5,000 oxycodone pills. William Bryan Young later received stolen pills from the pharmacy robbery.

On October 18, 2012, William Bryan Young, in his police department issued uniform, sold twenty oxycodone pills to a confidential informant cooperating with the ATF in their investigation. Shortly thereafter, William Bryan Young was arrested by agents with the ATF at the Lee County Courthouse in Jonesville, Virginia.

William Bryan Young admitted to being an illegal user of controlled substances for a number of years and admitted to distributing twenty Percocet pills earlier that day. William Bryan Young also admitted to distributing twenty Percocet pills the previous day, and to distributing six Percocet pills the previous weekend. A search of William Bryan Young’s police cruiser located the pre-recorded United States currency used by the confidential informant to purchase twenty Percocet pills earlier that day. Agents also located thirteen Percocet pills and one oxicodone pill in the police cruiser.

On October 18, 2012, a search warrant was executed at William Bryan Young’s residence located in Duffield, Virginia by federal agents, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Virginia State Police. Law enforcement officers found 548 Percocet pills and firearms in the residence. In addition, agents located empty evidence bags from the Pennington Gap Police Department in William Bryan Young’s personal vehicle that appeared to have previously contained controlled substances.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and United States Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Lee is prosecuting the case for the United States.

Updated April 15, 2015