Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

September 18, 2013

Mercer County residents plead guilty to drug-related charges

BLUEFIELD — Two Mercer County residents pleaded guilty this week to federal drug offenses, court officials announced Tuesday.

 Kevin “Steptoe” Petty, 36, of Bluefield pleaded guilty on Sept. 16 to distribution of hydromorphone before Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber in federal court in Bluefield, said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

On Sept. 20, 2012, Petty sold 10 hydromorphone pills to a person cooperating with law enforcement authorities in exchange for $200. The pill transaction occurred in the Bluefield area.

Hydromorphone is a powerful prescription painkiller commonly known as Dilaudid, Booth said.

In an unrelated case, Lakeisha Danell Howze, 27, of Princeton pleaded guilty on Tuesday to simple possession of hydromorphone. On Jan. 28, Howze possessed hydromorphone pills without a valid prescription from a doctor or licensed physician, Booth said.

The charges against each defendant were brought as part of the Bluefield Pill Initiative, a concerted attack by federal, state, and local government on the illegal distribution of prescription drugs in southern West Virginia.

Petty faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 21, 2014.

Howze faces up to a year in federal prison. She is also scheduled to be sentenced in January 2014.

The West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations handled both cases. Assistant United States Attorney John File was in charge of the prosecutions.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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