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Press Release

Wise County Pair Sentenced for Distributing Fentanyl Pills

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Paul Perkins, Austin Lane, and a Third Defendant Sold Pills Purchased from Social Media Platforms

ABINGDON, Va. – A pair of Southwest Virginia men, who distributed pressed pills containing fentanyl purchased from various social media platforms, were sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.

Paul Mason Perkins, 21, of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, was sentenced yesterday to 42 months.  Austin Jeremiah Lane, 23, of Norton, Virginia, was sentenced to 36 months.

Perkins and Lane pleaded guilty in June 2022 to one count each of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl. A third defendant, Cheyenne Cassie Carico, also pled guilty to the same charge last year and will be sentenced in April.

According to court documents, between February 2021 and February 2022, Perkins purchased thousands of pressed pills containing fentanyl online through a source located in California.  Perkins ordered 1,000 pills at a time from the California source on the social media platforms Snapchat and Instagram, making purchases every few weeks. He had the pills mailed to his residence in Big Stone Gap. Perkins then distributed the pills to other individuals in Wise County, including multiple sales to co-conspirators Lane and Carico.   

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh, Michael Weddel, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Atlanta Division made the announcement.

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office, the Norton Police Department, the Southwest Drug Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and the United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lena Busscher is prosecuting the case.

Updated March 10, 2023