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Two more submit guilty pleas in federal case

August 29, 2018

HU NTINGTON — Two defendants indicted on federal drug charges for their involvement in a multi-state drug operation submitted guilty pleas Tuesday, according to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Mike Stuart.

To date, 10 of the 15 individuals named in the federal indictment have submitted guilty pleas. The trial is scheduled for Sept. 11.

Willie “Chill” Peterson, 50, from Detroit, entered his guilty plea to an indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and a quantity of fentanyl. Peterson admitted that between July 2017 and April 2018 he conspired with individuals to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and quantities of fentanyl in Huntington.

Peterson admitted that he distributed quantities of heroin to his brother, Manget Peterson, also known as “Money,” for him to distribute in Huntington in exchange for money. Individuals in Huntington would send Peterson drug proceeds in Detroit from drug sales in Huntington.

As part of his plea agreement, Willie Peterson also admitted that in March he assisted David Miller, also known as “John,” in placing fentanyl and cocaine in a black box and attaching the box to Miller’s vehicle. Miller intended to transport the controlled substances to Huntington for distribution purposes. However, the Michigan State Police conducted a traffic stop on Miller and seized the controlled substances.

Corey Beach, 30, from Jacksonville, Florida, entered his guilty plea to an indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute heroin. Beach admitted that between October 2017 and January 2018 he conspired with individuals to distribute heroin in Huntington. As part of the plea agreement, Beach

admitted that Luther Peterson, also known as “Mook,” told him to deliver heroin to an informant at Burger King on U.S. 60 in Huntington.

Willie Peterson faces between five years and up to 40 years in prison, and Beach faces up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced Dec. 10.

Manget Peterson, David Miller, Silas Pardue and Ashley Pardue submitted guilty pleas Aug. 21 and will be sentenced Dec. 3. Luther Peterson, Lawrence Sykes Jr. and Charles “Bo” Graves submitted guilty pleas Aug. 20 and will be sentenced Nov. 26. Terrell “Rell” or “Troy” Redd submitted a guilty plea Aug. 2 and will be sentenced Nov. 19.

Eric Curtis “Eddie” Brown, Nyanzangusa “Botch” Baldwin, Jarred “J” Moore, Lonnie Freeman Berry II and Malcomb Jerome “Mac” Simmons have not submitted pleas.

Stuart said Aug. 22 he cannot predict whether the case will end up in trial and it is possible some of those remaining without pleas will submit before the trial date. He said as plea deals either work in the government’s interest or the individual’s interest, the legal team is working toward what is in the government’s interest.

Many of the defendants were arrested April 17 as 200 federal, state and local officers raided more than a dozen locations throughout Huntington, Ohio, Michigan and Florida. They were several of more than 90 individuals targeted as part of Project Huntington, an initiative announced by federal authorities in March in response to the growing opioid epidemic and an uptick of violent crime.

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter @megosborneHD.

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