MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Three Berkeley County residents have admitted to their roles in a drug conspiracy that spanned several states, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced.
Braheem Jamal Gilbert, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, pled guilty today to one count of “Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Heroin, Fentanyl, and Cocaine Base.” Gilbert, also known as “Slick,” 31, admitted to working with others to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine base from January 2019 to September 2019 in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties and elsewhere.
Ashley Marie Seal, of Bunker Hill, West Virginia, pled guilty today to one count of “Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Heroin, Fentanyl, and Cocaine Base.” Seal, 32, admitted to working with others to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine base from January 2019 to September 2019 in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties and elsewhere.
Ashley Lynn Hess, of Inwood, West Virginia, pled guilty today to one count of “Distribution of a Mixture and Substance Containing Phencyclidine (PCP)” and one count of “Aiding and Abetting Distribution of Cocaine Hydrochloride.” Hess, 31, admitted to selling PCP and cocaine hydrochloride or “coke” in September 2019 in Berkeley County.
Gilbert, Seal, and Hess each face up to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000,000 for each count. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
This case is the result of investigations supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) under the Attorney General-led Synthetic Opioid Surge (SOS)/Special Operations Division (SOD) Project Clean Sweep. This initiative seeks to reduce the supply of synthetic opioids in “hot spot” areas previously identified by the Attorney General of the United States, thereby reducing drug overdoses and drug overdose deaths, and identify wholesale distribution networks and sources of supply operating nationally and internationally.
OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and is the keystone of the Department of Justice’s drug reduction strategy. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations, transnational criminal organizations, and money laundering organizations that present a significant threat to the public safety, economic, or national security of the United States.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Omps-Botteicher and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Lydia Lehman, also with the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The FBI; Homeland Security Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; and the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, investigated.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble presided.