Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

August 15, 2013

Local authorities continue assault on pill dealers

BLUEFIELD — Federal authorities, led by the Southern Regional Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, are continuing their assault on the illegal prescription drug trade in the southern West Virginia coalfields. A Wyoming County husband and wife were sentenced to long prison terms at U.S. District Court in Beckley on Wednesday, while two Mercer County pill dealers were sentenced in Bluefield, two defendants pleaded guilty in court and another two drug suspects had their arraignment and detention hearings in Beckley earlier this week.

The task force along with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service — Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department all worked together in the investigation into the drug activity of Christopher and Jennifer Brooks, 36 and 29, respectively, of Glen Jean. The Southern regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force is made up of officers from the West Virginia State Police, deputies from the Mercer, Wyoming and McDowell county sheriff’s departments and officers from the Princeton and Bluefield police departments.

According to a press release from the office of U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin of the Southern District of West Virginia, Mr. and Mrs. Brooks received packages containing oxycodone from a “known individual located in Tampa, Fla.,” according to the press release. From March 2010 unto; April 27, 2012, Mr. and Mrs. Brooks received at least 130 Express Mail packages, containing as many as 17,000 30-milligram oxycodone pills. During that time, the Brooks’ deposited at least $300,000 into bank accounts owned by the known individual.

U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger of the Southern District of West Virginia sentenced Christopher Brooks to 10 years in prison and sentenced Jennifer Brooks to a 7-year federal prison term, according to the press release.

Earlier in the week, Senior Status U.S. District Judge David A. Faber of the Southern District of West Virginia, sentenced a pair of Mercer County defendants after pleading guilty to distributing prescription drugs.

Alane C. McKenzie, 39, of Princeton was sentenced to 13 months in federal prison and 3 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to distributing hydromorphone in the Princeton area. The court remanded McKenzie to the custody of U.S. Marshals after her hearing on Monday.

Robin Roope, also 39, and also of Princeton, was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison and 3 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to illegal distribution of hydromorphone in the Princeton area. Roope was also remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals after her sentencing hearing on Monday.

In addition, two male subjects who were among the 21 individuals indicted on illegal prescription drug charges on June 6, pleaded guilty in separate hearings on Monday. Matthew Pigg, 27, of Montcalm and Ricky David Coburn II, 26, of Princeton, both pleaded guilty to distributing hydromorphone.

The court scheduled Pigg’s sentencing for 11:30 a.m., on Dec. 10, in Bluefield, and Coburn’s sentencing for 10 a.m., on Dec. 17, in Bluefield.

Two additional defendants — Richard Travis Robinette Jr., 39, and Tobi Ledawn Jones, 25, both of McDowell County, appeared for their arraignment and detention hearings before U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort. The court detained both defendants and scheduled their trials to begin at 9:30 a.m., on Oct. 15, in Bluefield.

— Contact Bill Archer at

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