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Trio of federal cases involve Parkersburg

CHARLESTON — Three men were sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston on separate drug cases involving the Parkersburg area.

An Ohio man was sentenced Thursday for drug and gun crimes following a 2019 arrest in Parkersburg.

Keenan Watson, 24, of Dayton, was sentenced to 12 years — 144 months — in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. After completing his prison sentence, he will serve five years of supervised release.

“209 grams of meth. 135 grams of fentanyl. Two guns. Dangerous and deadly combination,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Watson posed a significant threat to public safety. Meth and fentanyl are leading causes of addiction and overdose deaths, while drug dealers with guns most often lead to violent crime in our communities. Great work by DEA and the Parkersburg Police Department in bringing Watson to justice.”

Watson had previously pleaded guilty June 2, 2020, and admitted that on Aug. 27, 2019, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant in Parkersburg. Watson was inside that residence, and ran outside when the officers entered. He ran from the officers until ultimately they were able to catch up and arrest him.

Officers removed two handguns from Watson and also recovered approximately 209 grams of methamphetamine, and approximately 135 grams of what later proved to be fentanyl from a bag that he was carrying. Watson admitted he possessed both guns to protect himself, the quantity of methamphetamine and fentanyl that he possessed, and any proceeds from the sales of those drugs.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Parkersburg Police Department conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Irene C. Berger imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney L. Alexander Hamner handled the prosecution.

In another case, a Wood County man was sentenced to 12 months and a day in federal prison for embezzling from a labor union.

Rick Drain, 56, of Vienna, previously pled guilty to one count of embezzling from a labor union. Pursuant to his plea agreement, Drain will also pay restitution.

“Drain was ‘draining’ the union,” Stuart said. “Drain took advantage of his position with the local union and took collected union dues and fees for himself. Not only will Drain be returning the money, but he’ll also be spending a year of his life behind bars for his crime. Crime doesn’t pay.”

Drain was the business manager of a local union and used his position to defraud the union. Law enforcement learned that Drain had defrauded the union of approximately $50,000 by collecting dues and other fees from union members and keeping the money for himself, not depositing it into the union’s bank account.

The Department of Labor, through its Office of Labor Management Standards, conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen Robeson handled the prosecution.

In the third local case handled Thursday, a Detroit man was sentenced to federal prison for his role in a large-scale, multi-state drug trafficking conspiracy.

Antoine Eltorio Terry, 43, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine.

Terry was prosecuted as part of Project Parkersburg — a major takedown and dismantling of a poly-drug, multi-state drug trafficking organization.

“Ten years in federal prison. Terry is the latest Project Parkersburg defendant to receive a lengthy prison sentence,” said Stuart. “He was arrested in Dayton, Ohio, while waiting for a large drug shipment to arrive from Phoenix, Ariz. If not for the coordinated efforts of law enforcement to intercept the shipment, large amounts of cocaine and meth would have been sold on our streets. Project Parkersburg truly bolstered the safety of our communities by shutting down this DTO (drug trafficking organization).”

Terry previously pleaded guilty and admitted working with co-defendants to obtain a large shipment of controlled substances from Phoenix to be delivered to Dayton and ultimately distributed in West Virginia and Ohio. Police intercepted that shipment in Dayton on Sept. 19, 2018. The shipment contained approximately 121 pounds of methamphetamine and 13.2 pounds of cocaine.

Terry was arrested nearby as he awaited the delivery of the shipment. Terry admitted his role was to obtain and distribute the cocaine while others intended to distribute the methamphetamine.

Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Parkersburg Police Department, the Dayton Police Department, and the Parkersburg Narcotics and Violent Crime Task Force. The long-term, joint investigation resulted in at least 29 individuals being charged in federal and state court and the seizure of 121 pounds of ICE methamphetamine, 6 kilograms of cocaine, 217 grams of heroin and 478 grams of fentanyl.

Of the defendants charged in federal court, Terrence McGuirk, Todd Land, Jeffrey Hoyler, Nicholas Easton, T.J. Gibson, Edward Marks, Amy Rake, Marshall Polan, Troy Pastorino, Michael Holley, Colleen Moyle, and Amanda Atkinson have been sentenced. Aurelius Edmonds and Michael Rhodes await sentencing later this year.

Berger imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Hanks and Jeremy Wolfe are handling the prosecution.

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