by BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Orders setting plea hearings were entered at U.S. District Court in Bluefield on Wednesday, scheduling hearings for 12 of the 21 defendants who were arrested as part of a region-wide drug sweep in early June.
The 12 defendants were all arrested as part of the Bluefield Pill Initiative, a law enforcement initiative announced in June 2011 by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin of the Southern District of West Virginia. The Bluefield Pill Initiative includes a concerted federal, state and local crack down on the illegal distribution of prescription drugs.
The court ordered plea hearings for Carlos Renaldo Ivy, 33, of Princeton and Edgar Junior Ponce, 32, of Oceana, on July 30, at U.S. District Court in Bluefield at 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. respectively.
The court also entered orders setting plea hearings for Ansel William Ponder, 22, of Bluefield, Ralph Ray Cantley, 54, of Matheny, Kathy Burchett, 38, of Welch and Anthony Lee Madison, 23, of Bluefield, Va., on July 31, at 10, 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m. respectively, in addition to Aaron O. Gamble, 30 of Princeton, also on July 31, and all in Bluefield.
In addition, the court scheduled plea hearings for Eric Lee Flack, 34, of Bluefield, Lori Megan Falls, 29, of Princeton and Eric M. Tiller, 41, of Princeton at 10, 10:30 and 11 a.m. respectively, on Aug. 1, in Bluefield.
The court also scheduled plea hearings for Elizabeth Ann Stewart, 30, and Tonya Lynn Goode, 35, both of Matheny, for 10 and 10:30 a.m. respectively on Aug. 7, at Bluefield.
The investigations were conducted by the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.