HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Two Huntington men were sentenced today to prison for their roles in a multi-state drug ring. Donald Duane Cole, 51, was sentenced to five years and 10 months. William Edward Nellons, Jr., 38, was sentenced to three years and 10 months. Three years of supervised release will follow each prison sentence.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Cole and Nellons participated in a conspiracy with others to distribute drugs in Huntington from at least April 2021 to July 2021. Cole admitted to distributing fentanyl and cocaine base, also known as “crack.” Nellons admitted that he regularly received cocaine and fentanyl which he distributed to others in the Huntington area. At times, Nellons and Cole each received the drugs on consignment and returned proceeds after conducting distributions.
Nellons admitted that he stored approximately 30 grams of fentanyl at Cole’s residence in May 2021 that he distributed during the conspiracy. Cole admitted to possessing approximately 10 grams of crack seized by law enforcement officers while executing a search warrant at his Ninth Avenue residence on July 29, 2021. Cole further admitted that he intended to sell the crack cocaine.
Cole pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine base. Nellons pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and fentanyl. Seventeen other individuals pleaded guilty to roles in the multi-state drug trafficking organization (DTO) that operated in Huntington and distributed fentanyl, cocaine and crack as well as methamphetamine, oxycodone, and heroin.
United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Southern West Virginia TOC-West Task Force. The Southern West Virginia TOC-West Task Force consists 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, Ohio, also assisted in the investigation.
United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentences. Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph F. Adams and Courtney L. Cremeans prosecuted the cases.
The investigation was part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). 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.
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 Nos. 3:22-cr-7 and 3:21-cr-109.