Operation X-Nation leads to guilty plea of a McDowell County man

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FILE – This June 17, 2019, file photo shows 5-mg pills of Oxycodone. At least a half-dozen companies that make or distribute prescription opioid painkillers are facing a federal criminal investigation of their roles in a nationwide addiction and overdose crisis. The Wall Street Journal first reported the investigation Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, citing unnamed sources familiar with the probe. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — A federal investigation to crack down on drug trafficking led to a guilty plea in West Virginia. Jan Rucker, 28, of McDowell County, who previously lived in Princeton, WV, admitted to charges of Possession with Intent to Deliver Hydromorphone and Carrying a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime.

The plea was heard on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Rucker was stopped by law enforcement officers in Princeton, WV on Aug. 30, 2019. A search of his truck during the traffic stop revealed 507 hydromorphone pills, $1,543 in cash and two firearms. Rucker told investigators he intended to sell the pills in Mercer County.

“Pill and guns – a combination we’ve seen again and again,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart. “In turn, we’ll keep prosecuting gun-toting drug dealers again and again.”

Rucker faces up to 20 years in prison on the drug offense. That will be followed by at least five years on the gun charge. There is also a fine of up to $1,250,000 which he could have to pay when he is sentenced on March 23, 2021.

The arrest was made as part of Operation X-Nation. That is a long-term, multi-state investigation. U.S. Attorney Stuart stated the investigation was a joint effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

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