Two Conspirators Sentenced for Roles in Analogue Distribution Scheme
Defendants Conspired to Bring Drugs into SW Virginia from China, Florida, North Carolina
ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – Another member of a 22-member conspiracy that brought a controlled substance analogue to 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.
Marcy Nichole Branch, 27, of St. Paul, Virginia, previously pled guilty to one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute seven kilograms of alpha-PVP, a controlled substance analogue. Today in District Court, Branch was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison.
In a separate hearing today in District Court, Teresa Ann Richard, 47, of Coeburn, Virginia, who previously pled guilty to conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute 135 grams of alpha-PVP. Today in federal court, Richards was sentenced to 45 months in federal prison.
“These synthetic drugs are highly addictive and extremely dangerous,” United States Attorney Fishwick said today. “We will continue to partner with those in law enforcement to combat the importation and distribution of these volatile substances.”
According to evidence presented at previous hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Erin M. Kulpa, those sentenced today, 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.