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Ten sentenced under federal pill crackdown in Bluefield

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ten Mercer County residents were sentenced to up to two years in prison as part of a federal crackdown on prescription painkiller trafficking in the southern part of the state, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Wednesday.

Ashley Hylton, 21, admitted to selling more than 10,000 hydromorphone pills during a one-year period, Goodwin said. A federal judge sentenced her to six months of home confinement and three years of probation.

"Prescription drug abuse has ravaged families and communities across the country," Goodwin said. "No place has been hit any harder than the area around Bluefield."

Last year, Goodwin announced the Bluefield Pill Initiative to target pill trafficking in Mercer, Wyoming and McDowell counties. The initiative, led by the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, is made up of the West Virginia State Police, sheriffs' departments in all three counties and the Bluefield and Princeton police departments.

Assistant U.S. attorneys Miller Bushong and John File prosecuted the cases, Goodwin said.

According to Goodwin, U.S. District Judge David A. Faber sentenced the following people Tuesday:

• Thomas Sheppheard, 34, of Pipestem, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for distributing hydromorphone.

Steven C. Alt, 29, of Keyser, was sentenced to 10 months in prison for aiding and abetting the distribution of hydromorphone.

Ashley Hylton, 21, of Bluefield, who admitted to selling more than 10,000 hydromorphone pills in a year, was sentenced to six months' home confinement and three years' probation.

Roger Lee Stables, Jr., 45, of Montcalm was sentenced to 21 months in prison for distributing marijuana in a case that also was prosecuted under the Bluefield Pill Initiative.   

Faber sentenced the following defendants Wednesday:

Latosha Lynette Brown, 29, of Bluefield was sentenced to three years of probation for distributing hydromorphone.

Viney Jean Stables, 32, of Montcalm was sentenced to 15 months in prison for aiding and abetting the distribution of oxycodone.

Chanty Annette Green, 30, of Bluefield was sentenced to 12 months in prison for distributing hydromorphone.

Michael W. McBride, 36, of Lerona was sentenced to 18 months in prison for aiding and abetting the distribution of hydromorphone.

Katie Slaughter, 23, of Princeton was sentenced to six months in prison for distributing hydromorphone.

Niketa Whittaker, 22, of, Athens was sentenced to 13 months in prison for distributing hydromorphone. Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.taylor@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.


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