HUNTINGTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – After a lengthy investigation, 18 individuals have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) operating in Huntington. Seventeen of these individuals are charged with conspiracy to distribute a variety of drugs including fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, cocaine base (crack), oxycodone, and heroin. Other charges in the indictment include the distribution and possession with intent to distribute various drugs and using a telephone to facilitate a felony drug trafficking offense. The indictment was returned under seal on July 28, 2021 and unsealed today after the arrest of 14 defendants.
Earlier today, federal agents and officers from various law enforcement agencies executed arrest and search warrants in numerous locations in and around Huntington. Federal agents also executed a search warrant last week in Columbus, Ohio, leading to the seizure of approximately36 pounds of fentanyl and the arrest of Brayan Luces.
The indictment alleges that Brayan Luces frequently supplied William Raeshaun Byrd of Huntington with large quantities of fentanyl and cocaine. The investigation revealed that Byrd often received multi-kilogram shipments of fentanyl and cocaine from Luces which were transported from Columbus to Huntington by vehicle. Byrd supplied multiple individuals including Christopher Leon Vest with fentanyl and cocaine. Vest in turn supplied Scott Lee Midkiff and Erica Antionette Kirker with fentanyl and methamphetamine. Byrd, Vest, Midkiff, and Kirker all distributed significant quantities of fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine to other dealers in the Huntington area. This DTO utilized multiple residences throughout Huntington to store and prepare various drugs for distribution. Other individuals in the conspiracy distributed and or assisted in the distribution of methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine, cocaine base (crack), oxycodone and heroin in the Huntington area and other locations in West Virginia.
“The hard work and dedication of our law enforcement partners has led to the disruption of this dangerous DTO that was distributing large amounts of illegal drugs in the Huntington area,” said Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston. “I want to thank the FBI and our federal, state, and local partners that conducted the lengthy investigation and the many law enforcement officers who assisted in today’s takedown. Our efforts in this case should reassure the people of Huntington that we will continue to work tirelessly to identify and prosecute drug dealers at all levels in order to keep our communities safe.”
“The suspects charged in this indictment made a business out of selling dangerous, illegal drugs,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “Today’s arrests send the message that their business venture is over. We will not tolerate brazen drug dealers operating in plain view near schools and in the community we all call home. The FBI focuses on dismantling these types of criminal organizations from the top down. I want the community in and around the Huntington area to know we, alongside our partners, are committed to making it a safer place for everyone.”
“The Cabell County Sheriff’s Department is proud to have participated in this long-term drug investigation with the FBI and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies,” said Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle. “Through our collaborative efforts, we have removed many drug dealers from our streets, some of which have plagued our community for over 10 years.”
Those charged include:
William Raeshaun Byrd, 31, Huntington
Marvin Jerome Calvin, 40, Huntington
Mark Anthony Chandler, 30, Huntington
Kimberly Ann Combs, 44, Huntington
Robert Lamont Congleton, 41, Huntington
Reginald Jerome Hairston, 43, Huntington
Marcus Allen Johnson, 37, Huntington
Erica Antoinette Kirker, 34, Huntington
Brayan Luces, 24, Columbus, Ohio
Aaron Scott Midkiff, 36, Huntington
Edward Shane Midkiff, 34, Huntington
Scott Lee Midkiff, 35, Huntington
William Edward Nellons, Jr., 37, Huntington
Leonard Brandon Joe Rice, 34, Louisa, Kentucky
Dennis Wayne Snyder, 31, Hurricane
Ricky Lee Taylor, 57, Charleston
Christopher Leon Vest, 33, Huntington
Dillon Andrew Young, 28, Sissonville
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Southern West Virginia TOC-West Task Force consisting of the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department, the Hurricane Police Department, and the Marshall University Police Department, with support from the West Virginia State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Violent Crime and Drug Task Force West. The Ohio Highway Patrol, the Kentucky State Police, and the FBI and DEA in Columbus also assisted in the investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph F. Adams and Courtney L. Cremeans are prosecuting this case for the government.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.