8 plead guilty in drug crimes - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

8 plead guilty in drug crimes

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Seven residents from Mercer, McDowell and Wyoming counties and one Virginia resident pleaded guilty in federal court in Bluefield this week in connection with an illegal prescription drug distribution conspiracy, according to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

The charges against each defendant were brought as part of the Bluefield Pill Initiative, an effort by federal, state, and local government on the illegal distribution of prescription drugs in the southern region of West Virginia.

According to Goodwin's office, the following defendants pleaded guilty Aug. 1 to using a telephone to commit a drug crime: Eric Lee Flack, 34, of Bluefield; Lori Megan Falls, 29, of Princeton; Kathy Burchett, 38, of Welch; and Eric M. Tiller, 41, of Princeton. The telephone calls that were made by each defendant involved the distribution of oxycodone.

The following defendant pleaded guilty on Wednesday, July 31, to using a telephone to commit a drug crime: Anthony Lee Madison, 23, of Bluefield, Va., pleaded guilty July 31 to using a telephone to commit a drug crime. The telephone call involved the distribution of oxycodone.

The following defendants pleaded guilty on July 30 to using a telephone to commit a drug crime: Danny Lee Decker, 42, of Mullens; and, Edgar Junior Ponce, 32, of Oceana. As with the others, the calls involved the distribution of oxycodone.

Each defendant faces up to four years in federal prison when they are sentenced in December.  

Also, Aaron O. Gamble, 30, of Princeton, pleaded guilty on July 29 to distribution of oxycodone.  In September 2012, Gamble distributed oxycodone to a confidential informant working in cooperation with the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

Gamble faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in December.  

The Bluefield Pill Initiative is a collaborative, multi-agency regional law enforcement effort designed to halt prescription drug trafficking in Mercer, McDowell, and Wyoming counties.  The Bluefield Pill 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.