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Press Release

Two Sentenced In Connection to Maryland-to-Virginia Heroin Pipeline that Resulted in Fatal Overdose

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

Harrisonburg, Va. – Two of the five defendants charged as part of a conspiracy that trafficked heroin from Maryland to Virginia leading to at least one fatal and one non-fatal overdose were sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg, Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar and Special Agent in Charge Jarod A. Forgot of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division announced.

Yesterday in District Court, Norma Lynda Kidwell, 56, was sentenced to 100 months in federal prison. Craig Allen Kidwell, 54, was sentenced Yesterday to 100 months in federal prison.

“The Kidwells preyed on vulnerable victims and destroyed numerous lives, perpetuating the scourge of heroin and fentanyl in our communities,” Acting U.S. Attorney Bubar said today.  “My office is extremely grateful for the hard work and persistence of the DEA, the Virginia State Police, and our numerous local law-enforcement partners, who worked together to bring the Kidwells to justice.” 

“The overdose crisis we are seeing is destroying families across our area. And it is the heroin and fentanyl traffickers such as these who are fueling this epidemic,” said Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Washington Division. “This case demonstrates our commitment to find and cut off the pipeline of deadly drugs fueling this epidemic and the productive partnerships we've built with our area law enforcement partners to tackle this crisis head-on.”

The Kidwells, both of Mount Jackson, Virginia, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute acetylfentanyl and fentanyl and one count of possessing with the intent to distribute and distributing heroin and acetylfentanyl which resulted in serious bodily injury and death.

According to court documents, 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 repeatedly traveled from their home in Shenandoah County to Maryland to obtain heroin from the Maryland-based drug-trafficking organization. At times, the heroin that Craig Kidwell and Norma Kidwell obtained from their Maryland-based source had been mixed with other drugs, such as fentanyl and acetylfentanyl.

After obtaining heroin, Craig and Norma Kidwell transported the drugs back to Shenandoah County where the drugs were redistributed to others. 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 Attorneys Jeb Terrien and Christopher Kavanaugh are prosecuting the case for the United States.

Updated February 9, 2021