Huntington man admits to leading a drug ring for 4 years - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Huntington man admits to leading a drug ring for 4 years

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Another drug dealer has pleaded guilty in federal court in Huntington to possession with intent to distribute cocaine, oxycodone, heroin, Ecstasy and marijuana.

Kenneth Dewitt Newman, also known as “K-Kutta,” headed a drug ring operating in the Huntington area over at least a four-year period, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.

Newman, 32, his brother George and their mother, Darlene, were among 15 people indicted for dealing drugs from his home on Artisan Avenue and other locations in the area, Goodwin said. Agents raided the home in January, seizing quantities of cocaine, oxycodone, heroin, Ecstasy and marijuana.

George Newman, Ariell Varney, William Isiah Petties, Kamel Burris and Brandon Appleton have all pleaded guilty to various charges arising from the lengthy investigation, which was handled by officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team and Huntington police.

Goodwin said other defendants are awaiting trial, currently set for the end of July. Newman faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine at sentencing, set for Aug. 25.

In other cases:

* Alvester Thomas, 34, of Detroit, sentenced to 10 years and one month in federal prison after pleading guilty in February to possession with intent to distribute 1,000 grams or more of heroin.

Goodwin said agents with the Huntington Violent Crime and Drug Task Force found the heroin in a safe inside a home Thomas shared with Kristen Michelle Graley at 3008 Rear Third Avenue, Huntington.

Graley pleaded guilty to related drug charges and was sentenced to five years in prison. Thomas admitted the heroin was his and that he intended to sell it in the Huntington area.

In addition to the heroin, agents seized 545 oxycodone pills, 73 oxymorphone pills, additional amounts of heroin and approximately three pounds of marijuana. They also recovered a gun and more than $17,000 in cash, Goodwin said.

*Kermit Ware III, 26, of Detroit, was sentenced to five month in prison after pleading guilty in January to using a communication device to facilitate a drug deal.

Ware came to West Virginia in the summer of 2013 to distribute heroin after being recruited by a member of a Detroit-based heroin distribution ring with ties to Kanawha County, Goodwin said. In July 2013, Ware used his cellular telephone to facilitate several heroin sales to undercover police in and around Charleston.

This case was investigated by the Kanawha Bureau of Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Hanks handled the prosecution, while U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. issued the sentenced.

*Alphonso Washington, 31, of Princeton was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison.

Washington pleaded guilty in January in U.S. District Court in Bluefield to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Goodwin said a routine parole inspection led to Washington's arrest and prosecution. In August 2013 officers with the West Virginia Department of Correction’s Parole Services arrived unannounced at Washington’s Princeton home. Washington, who at that time was on parole for a state drug felony, was in possession of marijuana, baggies, digital scales, a handgun, and over $18,000 in cash. He admitted the seized cash was drug proceeds and it was forfeited as part of his plea agreement, Goodwin said.

The West Virginia Department of Correction’s Parole Services was assisted by Princeton police and the U.S. Marshal service.