Martinsburg, W. Va. (WDVM) — A step towards improving the opioid crisis in West Virginia after a Philadelphia man admitted to heroin and fentanyl distribution today.
45 year old Richard Gaines pled guilty to one count of “Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin and Fentanyl.” This comes after Gaines admitted to having the opioids in Berkeley County in June of 2017.
Gaines was prosecuted following the result of investigations spearheaded by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force which is based under the Synthetic Opioid Surge (SOS) and the Special Operations Division (SOD) Project Clean Sweep initiative. These initiatives work to reduce the supply of synthetic opioids in “hot spots” which were previously identified by the U.S. Attorney General. As a result, the initiative was designed to reduce drug overdoses and drug overdose deaths as well as identify wholesale distribution networks and sources of supply operating both nationally and internationally.
Though Gaines has not yet been sentenced, he faces up to 20 years behind as well as a fine of up to one million dollars. The severity of his sentence will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and if Gaines has a prior criminal history.