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Justice News

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

One Sentenced for Role in Analogue Distribution Conspiracy

Defendant Conspired to Bring Drugs into SW Virginia from China, Florida, North Carolina

ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – One more member of a 22-member conspiracy that brought a controlled substance analogue into Southwest Virginia from as far away as China was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon, United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. announced.

Ryan Richard Potter, 27, who previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 4.5 kilograms of alpha-PVP, a controlled substance analogue, was sentenced today to 66 months in prison.

“In many instances the abuse of synthetic substances is more addictive and more dangerous than that of illegal street drugs,” United States Attorney Fishwick said today. “We are grateful to the cooperative law enforcement effort that put an end to this conspiracy and slowed the flow of this substance into Southwest Virgnina.”

According to evidence presented at previous hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Erin M. Kulpa, Potter, and other 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 September 1, 2016