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Press Release

Wise County Trio Plead Guilty to Distributing Pills Containing Fentanyl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Paul Perkins, Austin Lane, Cheyenne Carico Linked to Teenage Overdoses

ABINGDON, Va. – A trio of Southwest Virginia residents who distributed pressed pills containing fentanyl and are linked to teenage overdoses that occurred in Wise County, pled guilty recently in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.

Paul Mason Perkins, 20, of Big Stone Gap, Va., Austin Jeremiah Lane, 22, of Norton, Va., and Cheyenne Cassie Carico, 20, of Norton, Va., all pled guilty in recent weeks to one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl.

According to court documents, between February 1, 2021, and February 11, 2022, Perkins purchased thousands of pressed pills containing fentanyl online through a source located in California.  Perkins ordered 1,000 pills at a time for $3,750 from a 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.   

On November 24, 2021, Perkins sold Carico and Lane three pressed pills for $30 per pill. Lane and Carico had purchased two of the pills for a 17-year-old female the two knew from school.  Lane and Carico distributed the pills to the juvenile by delivering the drugs to her sister’s mailbox.  Later that night, the 17-year-old female was hospitalized due to a drug overdose. The juvenile female spent six days on a ventilator as a result of the overdose.  Law enforcement recovered half a pressed pill from the scene of the overdose, which tested positive for fentanyl.

Later the same night, on November 24, 2021, another 18-year-old male who had purchased pressed pills containing fentanyl from Perkins, Lane and Carico was hospitalized due to a drug overdose.  

On February 10, 2022, a United States Postal Inspector intercepted a package being sent to Perkins’ residence from Costa Mesa, California. The package contained approximately 1,000 pills that tested positive for fentanyl. When law enforcement performed a controlled delivery of the intercepted package at Perkins’ residence the next day, officers found approximately $6,000 cash, a loaded firearm, and 200 pressed pills containing fentanyl.      

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh, Charlies J. Patterson, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, 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 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and the United States Postal Inspection Service are investigating the case.

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

Updated June 27, 2022