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Published On: Sun, Oct 14th, 2018

FBI’s Project Parkersburg dismantles drug trafficking ring across West Virginia to Pittsburgh, from Tampa to Arizona

United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced the formation of “PROJECT PARKERSBURG” and a major takedown today of drug traffickers resulting in the dismantling of a multi-state Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) responsible for distributing methamphetamine and heroin in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  As of the commencement of operations this morning, the investigation included the seizure of more than 150 pounds of methamphetamine and 4 pounds heroin.  Joining United States Attorney Stuart in the announcement were Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant Special Agent in Charge Nicholas Boshears of the Pittsburgh Field Office, Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin, Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Pat Lefebure, West Virginia State Police Captain Jason Davis, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens, Vienna Police Chief  Mike Pifer, representatives of the Parkersburg Narcotics and Violent Crimes Task Force (PNTF) and Major Allen Tackett of the West Virginia National Guard.   The West Virginia State Police, the Arizona State Police, and the FBI Field Offices in Tampa, Cincinnati, Detroit and Phoenix provided valuable assistance in this investigation.  The FBI Safe Streets Task Force in the Dayton RA, Cincinnati Field Office is deserving of special recognition for their involvement in the seizure of the methamphetamine and arrests of the primary targets of the investigation.

“The vast majority of the methamphetamine and heroin in this country came across our Southern Border,” Attorney General Sessions said. “Thanks to collaboration between law enforcement in Arizona, Florida, Ohio, and West Virginia, our prosecutors and law officers were able to dismantle a drug trafficking organization that brought methamphetamine 2,000 miles from the border to the small towns of Appalachia. As part of this operation, law enforcement has arrested some 30 defendants and seized 150 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin and tens of thousands of dollars in alleged ill-gotten gains. And so I want to thank U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart, the FBI’s Tampa, Pittsburgh and Dayton offices, the West Virginia and Arizona state police, and all of the members of the Parkersburg Police and the Parkersburg Narcotics and Violent Crimes Task Force. By taking drug traffickers off of our streets, they are helping to keep the American people safe.”

Today’s operation is the first public announcement of “PROJECT PARKERSBURG”, a project that has been ongoing but unannounced as a result of today’s dismantling of a drug trafficking organization.  The takedown today was the result of a long-term investigation led by FBI and PNTF and involved the cooperation of law enforcement authorities in several states.  A total of at least 29 individuals have been charged in federal and state court and final determinations of jurisdiction for charging will be made as a result of a review of today’s arrests.

In December 2017 members of the PNTF executed a search warrant at a residence in Parkersburg during which they learned that large amounts of methamphetamine were being shipped to West Virginia from Mexico.  Witness interviews, financial records, and informant information led to the identification of Parkersburg residents Terrance McGuirk, Antoine Terry, and Aurelius Edmonds as individuals with access to the methamphetamine being shipped from the southern border to locations in West Virginia and Ohio.  Over the course of nine months, agents and task force officers conducted an exhaustive investigation linking the Parkersburg DTO to sources in Arizona.  On September 19, 2018, surveillance led investigators to Dayton, Ohio where Terry and Edmonds met with Arizona residents Todd Land and Troy Pastorino to pick up a large shipment of controlled substances to include more than 150 pounds of methamphetamine that had been offloaded from a truck into a rented storage unit.  Investigators observed Pastorino load the drugs into the trunk of a Dodge Charger.  Police seized the drugs after conducting a traffic stop of Pastorino.  Terry, Edmonds, and Land were arrested at a nearby business, and McGuirk was arrested at his hotel near the Dayton airport.

While this investigation is ongoing, investigators have been able to dismantle a DTO operating across multiple states and responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine.  It is believed that the dismantling of this DTO removed all of the Parkersburg area individuals with access to the Arizona source and will significantly curtail the amount of methamphetamine available for distribution in Wood County and the surrounding area.

The arrests and seizures relating to this investigation break down, as of the issuance of this press release, as follows:

 

  • 17 individuals have been charged in a federal indictment in the Southern District of West Virginia with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine;
  • 1 defendant has been charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of a firearm;
  • 12 individuals are facing state charges filed by the Wood County Prosecuting Attorney;
  • Over 150 pounds of methamphetamine were seized;
  • Over 4 pounds of Heroin were seized;
  • Over $84,000 in United States Currency was seized; and
  • Several vehicles were seized that were used to transport controlled substances.

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