4 from southern West Virginia plead guilty to drug charges - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

4 from southern West Virginia plead guilty to drug charges

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An effort aimed at putting a stop to the illegal sale of prescription drugs ends with four people from Princeton pleading guilty in federal court.  U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced the pleas on Tuesday, April 2.

The ongoing effort to stop prescription drug abuse in southern West Virginia, called the Bluefield Pill initiative lead to the arrest of four residents of Princeton and a person from Baltimore, Maryland.  Those people pleaded guilty on April 1 to charges of selling prescription drugs.

"Criminals like these are poisoning our communities," said Goodwin. "With these five guilty pleas, our message should be clear: Pill dealers aren't welcome in southern West Virginia."
Goodwin continued, "Fighting the pill epidemic has been my office's leading priority. Pill dealers will be caught and they will be prosecuted."

Here is a look at the guilty parties and what they admitted to doing:

Robin Bolton, 43, of Princeton, W.Va., pleaded guilty to distributing hydromorphone, a powerful prescription painkiller commonly known as Dilaudid. Bolton admitted that on October 22, 2012, she sold a quantity of hydromorphone to a person cooperating with law enforcement authorities. The defendant also admitted that each of the illegal pill transaction took place near Princeton, W.Va.

Alane McKenzie, 39, of Princeton, W.Va., pleaded guilty to distributing hydromorphone. McKenzie admitted that on October 22, 2012, she sold a quantity of hydromorphone to a person cooperating with law enforcement authorities. She also admitted that each of the illegal pill transactions took place near Princeton, W.Va.

Robin Roope, 39, of Princeton, W.Va., pleaded guilty to distributing hydromorphone. Roope admitted that on November 5, 2012, she sold a quantity of hydromorphone to a person cooperating with law enforcement authorities.

Earl Inscore, 43, of Princeton, W.Va., pleaded guilty to distributing hydromorphone. Bolton admitted that on March 27, 2012, he sold a quantity of hydromorphone to a person cooperating with law enforcement authorities.

Robert J. Fleek Jr., 31, of Baltimore, MD, pleaded guilty to distributing hydromorphone and buprenorphine. Buprenorphine, commonly known by the trade name Suboxone or Subutex, is a drug intended to help people overcome opioid addiction as part of a rehabilitation program. Fleek admitted that he sold hydromorphone pills to persons cooperating with law enforcement on five different occasions between January 25, 2012, and March 16, 2012. Fleek also illegally sold buprenorphine to a person cooperating with law enforcement.

Bolton, Inscore and Fleek could each get up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.  They are expected to be sentenced on August 5. McKenzie and Roope also face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine each.  Their sentencing date is on August 12.  

The Bluefield Pill Initiative is an effort that involves a variety of law enforcement agencies and is designed to stop prescription drug trafficking in Mercer, McDowell, and Wyoming counties. The initiative is led by the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, which includes the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation; the Mercer, McDowell and Wyoming County Sheriff's Departments; and the Bluefield and Princeton Police Departments.