CHARLESTON - A Parkersburg man faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison after pleading guilty Monday to federal drug and firearm charges in U.S. District Court, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said in a news release.
Richard Curry Jr., also known as "Cheese" and "Curtus Javon McDonald," 31, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. On May 3, a confidential informant working with the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) arranged to purchase cocaine from Curry.
Police observed Curry, who was driving a tan Hummer SUV, pull into the parking lot of the informant's Charleston apartment complex, federal officials said. Curry later entered the informant's residence where he was immediately grabbed by police.
Curry, who began resisting arrest, fired a single shot from a Taurus .40 caliber pistol that he had hidden inside of his jacket, officials said. No one was injured in the shooting. Police determined the bullet entered into the floor of the residence.
A short time later, officers placed Curry under arrest. Police conducted a search of the defendant and found a package wrapped in electrical tape hidden on Curry's person, officials said. The package contained cocaine weighing 1211 grams.
Police also obtained a search warrant for the defendant's Hummer SUV. During a search of the vehicle, officers found 68 grams of crack cocaine and 73 grams of cocaine, officials said. Officers performed a check of the vehicle's registration and determined that it had been registered to Curtus Javon McDonald.
On May 6, Curry appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Dwayne L. Tinsley, for an initial appearance on a criminal complaint that was filed against him. During the hearing, Curry represented to the court that his name was Curtus Javon McDonald. However, after a fingerprint scan was performed on the defendant by the United States Marshals Service, his true identity was determined to be that of Richard L. Curry Jr.
Curry is responsible for distributing cocaine to a confidential informant on at least six other occasions, officials said. During the drug transactions, Curry distributed half-kilogram quantities of cocaine in exchange for cash.
Curry faces up to 20 years on count one (cocaine possession charge) and a consecutive mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison on count two (use of firearm charge) when he is sentenced on Oct. 21 by United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston, a press release states.
The investigation was conducted by MDENT and the DEA. Assistant United States Attorney Monica D. Coleman is in charge of the prosecution.