ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

May 3, 2010

Timothy J. Heaphy, United States Attorney

Contact: Brian McGinn

(540) 857-2974

(540) 857-2179 (fax)

brian.mcginn@usdoj.gov

Eight Lee County Residents Plead Guilty to Oxycontin Distribution Conspiracy

Conspiracy Operated Between Lee County and Florida

ABINGDON, VIRGINIA — United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy announced today that eight defendants entered pleas of guilty this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon to numerous charges involving drug distribution and firearms. These charges resulted from a cooperative investigation by the Lee County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the United States Marshals Service.

Kenneth Newton, 50, of St. Charles, Virginia, entered pleas of guilty to one count of possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug transaction.

William Cox, 56, of Jonesville, Virginia, Chris Newton, 27, of St. Charles, Virginia, Charity Vaughn, 36, of St. Charles, Virginia, James Jessee, 50, of St. Charles, Virginia, Creed Logsdon, 42, of St. Charles, Virginia, Stephen Riggs, 34, of East Stone Gap, Virginia, and Alma Cradic, of Pennington Gap, Virginia, all entered pleas of guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute oxycontin.

Travis Fugate, 32, of St. Charles, Virginia, and Creed Webb, Jr., 56, of St. Charles, Virginia, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute OxyContin.

The abuse of prescription drugs must be treated as an issue of both public safety and public health, United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. Those of us who work in law enforcement must do all we can to prosecute those individuals profiting from the addiction of others as well as support serious efforts to rehabilitate those addicted to these dangerous substances.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Lee, the individuals who pleaded guilty were all involved in a scheme to transport OxyContin obtained in Florida to Lee County, Virginia, where it was distributed for profit.

Kenneth Newton and his son, Christopher Newton, distributed OxyContin from their home in St. Charles and law enforcement officers executed search warrants on the residence and found money and OxyContin on two separate occasions. Kenneth Newton also possessed a semiautomatic handgun during a drug transaction with a confidential informant in October 2009.

Stephen Riggs, James Jessee, Creed Logsdon, Charity Vaughn, Alma Cradic, Travis Fugate, and William Cox all made multiple trips to Florida to acquire OxyContin from doctors at pain clinics, which they then brought back to Lee County for distribution by themselves or others. Many of these trips were financed by other distributors in Lee County, Virginia. Creed Webb, Jr., was a sub-distributor of OxyContin and runner for Newton and others in St. Charles.

Kenneth Newton faces a potential maximum sentence of life imprisonment and up to $500,000 in fines. Furthermore, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years imprisonment. Christopher Newton, Webb, Jessee, Riggs and Cox all face a potential maximum sentence of thirty years imprisonment and a $2,000,000 fine based upon their prior convictions for felony drug offenses. Logsdon, Vaughn, Cradic, and Fugate all face a potential maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Lee County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the United States Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee of the United States Attorney’s Office in Abingdon is prosecuting the case.

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