Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

December 8, 2013

Board honors Tazewell Commonwealth’s Attorney Lee: Drug convictions net millions

TAZEWELL,Va. — Tazewell County Board of Supervisors recognized Tazewell County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Lee who has helped prosecute more than 200 defendants for narcotics and firearm related crimes in the area.

Lee and his office assisted the United States Attorney’s office by prosecuting cases, which allowed the United States Attorney’s office to investigate Purdue Pharma’s marketing techniques of the drug OxyContin, Lee said.

Because of the cases won, Tazewell County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office received $1.32 million.

“This money was put toward local law enforcement vehicles, bulletproof vests and other equipment. Also, billboards and drug abuse prevention programs,” Lee said.

Another pharmaceutical company, Abbott Laboratories, was also investigated leading to the forfeiture of $198.5 million and a fine of $500 million.

This resulted in Tazewell County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office being rewarded another $1.3 million in July 2013.

“This money  has not yet been spent, we have two years to spend it. Plans for the funds include significant funding to the drug court program, the sheriff’s department and local towns that are financially strapped,” Lee said.

Lee’s work has been outstanding in helping prosecute these crimes.

“I do believe that this has helped with the drug problem. But it is still a significant problem not only in Southwest Virginia but across the U.S. It’s going to be a long battle, but it’s won by inches,” Lee said.  

— Contact Anne Elgin at

aelgin@bdtonline.com

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