Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 31, 2013

Bluefield Pill initiative: One sentenced, 1 arrested, 1 pleads guilty

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — An ex-West Virginia state trooper was sentenced at U.S. District Court in Bluefield, a Mercer County man pleaded guilty on federal drug charges and another individual was arrested Wednesday night as part of the ongoing Bluefield Pill Initiative.

Thomas Jennings, 53, of Columbus, Ohio who served in the Welch Detachment of the West Virginia State Police until about 1990, was sentenced to 12 months in prison after pleading guilty to count two of a three-count federal indictment charging him with distribution of drugs. Count two alleged that on June 28, 2012, Jennings distributed a quantity of cocaine base in McDowell County. Jennings pleaded guilty to the present charge on Sept. 18, 2012. A federal grand jury returned the indictment naming Jennings on July 17, 2012.

Jennings was previously named in a May 1, 2007  federal indictment that also alleged drug distribution. He pleaded guilty to one-count of that indictment and was sentenced to 30 months in prison as well as a three-year period of supervised release.

In addition to the 12-month prison term, Senior Status U.S. District Judge David A. Faber of the Southern District of West Virginia sentenced Jennings to three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment. Assistant U.S. Attorney John File represented the government in the case and Assistant U.S. Public Defender Lex Coleman represented the defendant.

Also on Tuesday afternoon, the court accepted a guilty plea in another Pill Initiative case. Trusby “Red” Hubbard, 34, of Bluefield, pleaded guilty to count-1 of a three count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury in October 2012.

Count one alleges that Hubbard distributed a quantity of hydromorphone in Mercer County on Aug. 16, 2012.

Hubbard faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine at his sentencing that is scheduled for April 26, at 1:30 p.m. at U.S. District Court in Bluefield.

Another Pill Initiative defendant was arrested late Wednesday afternoon. Robin Bolton appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort for her initial appearance on a three-count federal indictment that remained under seal until Wednesday.

The indictment alleges that the defendant that on Oct. 22, 2012 at or new Princeton on Nov. 1, 2012, at 3:02 p.m. and again at 5:12 p.m. also at or near Princeton, distributed a quantity of hydromorphone. The defendant was remanded and VanDervort scheduled Bolton’s arraignment and detention hearing for 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 4, at U.S. District Court in Bluefield. VanDervort ordered Bolton detained until the hearing.

All three cases were investigated by the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force that includes the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation; the Mercer, McDowell and Wyoming county sheriff’s departments; and the police departments of Bluefield and Princeton.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com