Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 20, 2014

3 plead guilty in Bluefield Pill Initiative

BLUEFIELD — Three Mercer County men pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Bluefield to federal drug charges stemming from the ongoing Bluefield Pill Initiative.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Steven Eugene Champ, 41, of Matoaka, pleaded guilty to distribution of hydromorphone, admitting that on Sept. 24, 2012, he distributed two hydromorphone pills to a person cooperating with law enforcement authorities. Goodwin said the transaction took place at or near Princeton. Champ further admitted that he distributed a total of 1,710 hydromorphone pills between July 2011 and February 2013.

Goodwin said Elijah Abdul Jones, 36, of Bluefield, pleaded guilty to distribution of cocaine base. Goodwin said Jones admitted that he sold .72 grams of cocaine base to a person cooperating with police on July 23, 2013, in Bluefield. He further admitted that he had also distributed a total of 14 grams of cocaine base and a small quantity of heroin.

Goodwin said Michael Devon Harmon, 37, of Princeton, pleaded guilty to distribution of hydromorphone, admitting that on July 24, 2013, he distributed two hydromorphone pills to a person cooperating with the police in Princeton. Goodwin said Harmon also admitted that in addition to that transaction, in July 2013, he sold two more hydromorphone pills and small quantities of cocaine base and cocaine.

Each of the defendants faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber has set each defendant for sentencing on Sept. 22.

The cases were investigated by the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney John File is handling the prosecutions.

The cases are being prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs. Goodwin said the U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers in communities across the Southern District.

The three men are currently being held in Southern Regional Jail.

— Contact Anne Elgin at

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