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Press Release

Pair Sentenced for Roles in Analogue Distribution Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Defendants Played Role in Bringing Drugs into SW Virginia from China, Florida, North Carolina

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

John Roma Bryan III and Wesley David Gross were sentenced today in the Federal Court for their roles in the conspiracy

Bryan, who previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute alpha-PVP, also known as “Flakka,” and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, was sentenced today to 72 months in federal prison.  

Gross previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute alpha-PVP. Today in District Court, Gross was sentenced to 96 months in federal prison.

“This form of synthetic drug, known as gravel and flakka, has dire health consequences for users and should be avoided at all costs,” United States Attorney Fishwick said today. “We are grateful to the work of our law enforcement partners for putting an end to this distribution conspiracy and slowing the importation of this deadly substance into our community.”

According to evidence presented at previous hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Erin M. Kulpa, 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.

Updated October 18, 2016

Drug Trafficking