U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of West Virginia
(304) 234-0100
December 4, 2015

Three Sentenced in Maryland to West Virginia Heroin Trafficking Network

MARTINSBURG, WV—Three individuals were sentenced in federal court today for their role in a multi-state heroin trafficking operation based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced.

The defendants sentenced today participated in a drug trafficking network in which a large group of individuals repeatedly traveled across state lines to the Baltimore area to procure heroin. The individuals then returned to various locations in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania to redistribute and sell the drug. The operation was interrupted in June 2015 by a 163-count federal indictment targeting 41 defendants.

Steward Eugene Whitehead, 29, of Inwood, West Virginia, pled guilty in September 2015 to one count of “Use of a Telephone to Facilitate the Distribution of Heroin” and one count of “Interstate Travel in Aid of Racketeering.” He was sentenced today to 30 months in prison on each count. The sentences will run consecutively for a total of 60 months in prison.

James Francis Hansen, Jr., 48, of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison. He pled guilty in September 2015 to one count of “Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin.”

Michelle Lynn Warnick, 33, of Kearneysville, West Virginia, pled guilty in September 2015 to one count of “Use of a Telephone to Facilitate the Distribution of Heroin” and one count of “Interstate Travel in Aid of Racketeering.” She was sentenced today to 15 months in prison on each count. The sentences will run concurrently for a total of 15 months in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anna Krasinski and Paul Camilletti prosecuted the cases on behalf of the government. The Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation led the inquiry.

Chief U.S. District Judge Gina M. Groh presided.

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