HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (USDOJ.Today) A Detroit man trafficking fentanyl, and a Huntington woman assisting him, both pled guilty to federal charges today, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Vernon Eugene Mitchell, 30, and Tasha Lynn Adkins, 34, both pled guilty to distributing fentanyl. Mitchell also pled guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
“Detroit is home for another drug dealer taken down in southern West Virginia. Fentanyl has been a death drug for our people and Detroit and out-of-state drug dealers simply don’t care. These two were quite the pair. Drugs and guns don’t mix and lawbreakers will be caught and prosecuted,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “We are all safer having these two off the streets.”
On October 2, 2019, officers with the Huntington Police Department utilized a confidential informant to purchase fentanyl from Mitchell. The informant met with Mitchell near the intersection of 13th Street West and Monroe Avenue in Huntington where Mitchell provided the fentanyl to the informant.
On October 28, 2019, officers again used an informant to contact Mitchell to purchase fentanyl. On that date, Mitchell directed the informant to go to a residence in the 300 block of 5th Avenue in Huntington. At that location, Adkins met with the informant and distributed the fentanyl.
Officers executed a search warrant at Mitchell’s residence located at 438 ½ 5th Avenue in Huntington on November 7, 2019. When officers entered, they located Mitchell and Adkins. During the search, officers found a number of items including $11,201 in cash and a loaded .45 caliber pistol. Mitchell admitted at the plea hearing that he made the money by selling fentanyl and that he possessed the firearm. Mitchell also admitted that he had been selling heroin and fentanyl in the Huntington area between the summer of 2019 and December 2019.
Mitchell faces five years to life in prison when he is sentenced on November 23, 2020. Adkins faces up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced on November 23, 2020.
The Huntington Police Department conducted the investigation. United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams is handling the prosecution.
The case is being prosecuted as part of Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (S.O.S.) and the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program.
Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (S.O.S.) is an enforcement surge that seeks to reduce the supply of deadly synthetic opioids in high impact areas.
The Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:19-cr-00311.