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Two convicted in prescription drug ring, 13 more still face charges

Updated: Monday, June 9 2014, 05:31 PM EDT

WHEEELING, W.Va.--

Two Ohio Valley men have been convicted for their roles in a large prescription painkiller trafficking ring.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II announced that Jordan Sorge, 22, of Wheeling, and Richard Hercules, 50, of McMeche, entered guilty pleas before U.S. District Court Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr.

Sorge pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use a communication facility to facilitate the distribution of a controlled substance. He faces up to four years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Hercules pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the distribution of oxycodone. He faces up to 20 years and a $1 million fine.

Fifteen people were indicted in Wheeling on drug charges in February.

Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger calling the Ohio Valley’s drug problem an “epidemic.”

“For those citizens that we serve and gladly serve every day, this war will continue to wage on, and it is certainly an epidemic in this area.” Schwertzfeger said.

Ihlenfeld said 83 charges were filed, all having to do with the sale and abuse of prescription drugs, cocaine, and other drugs.

Ihlenfield earlier identified 37-year-old Brian Schultz as the alleged ring leader.

The others still facing charges are Katherin Hungerman, Dustin Namack, Derick Namack, Jill West, Steven L. Namack, Christopher Howard, Buddy Robert Salem Jr., Kristyn Elizabeth Fetcko, Michael Coppa, Cara Olako, Lucas N. High, and Adams W. Barnes.

People with occupations ranging from guidance counselor to nurse, many of them parents.

At a news conference a few months ago, law enforcement explained how the arrests came about.

“There were sophisticated surveillance techniques that were used during the investigation and the execution came with the three search warrants at homes last month believed to be connected to this operation,” Ihlenfeld said. “During those searches, large amounts of pills and currency were seized.”

Purchases were also made by agents during the 16-month investigation.

There is no word on the 13 still charged.

Two convicted in prescription drug ring, 13 more still face charges


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