BLUEFIELD — An 11-count indictment naming three individuals with southern West Virginia and North Carolina roots was unsealed this week, charging all three with conspiracy to commit drug crimes, according to court documents.

While the indictment was unsealed on Tuesday, only one of the three named defendants, Joanna Padgett, 30, of Bluefield, was in custody. Padgett appeared on Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort for her initial appearance.

VanDervort scheduled Padgett’s arraignment for Sept. 16, at U.S. District Court in Beckley. Padgett was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. The other two defendants named in the indictment include a 29-year-old North Carolina man and a 35-year-old Kimball man.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Frail represented the government in Padgett’s initial appearance and Assistant Federal Public Defendant Rhett H. Johnson represented Padgett.

Count one of the indictment alleges that all three defendants conspired to distribute a quantity of cocaine base, or “crack,” at or near Welch, McDowell County from March 16, 2011, to about Oct. 13, 2011. In addition to count 1, the 35-year-old male is named in counts 2, 4 and 5, the 29-year-old-male is named in counts 1, 6, 9 and 11. Padgett is named in counts 1, 8 and 10, and the two males are named jointly in count 7. Each of the counts allege distribution of crack cocaine.

a federal grand jury meeting in Charleston returned the indictment on Aug. 18, but it remained sealed until Padgett had her initial appearance on Tuesday. Frail presented the case to the grand jury.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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