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Man faces life for federal drug, gun charges

September 23, 2018

HUNTINGTON — A man arrested in April as part of a day-long, largescale warrant sweep in Huntington admitted to federal drug and gun crimes earlier this week.

Eric Lee Burgess, 34, pleaded guilty Tuesday to distribution of heroin, prohibited possession of a firearm by a drug user and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking before U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers.

He faces a federal prison sentence of at least five years and up to life at his Jan. 14, 2019, sentencing.

According to U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart, Burgess was seen partaking in illegal activity Oct. 7, 2014, when a confidential informant and an undercover ATF agent met with him at his home located in the 300 block of West 9th Street in Huntington to purchase heroin. Burgess distributed about 5 grams of heroin to the agent in exchange for $875. He was also seen using heroin at that time and admitted Tuesday he possessed a .40 caliber pistol during the transaction.

In December 2014, the agent again met with Burgess, at which time he was again seen using heroin. Burgess also sold the agent an AR-15 rifle, along with a 30-round magazine.

At his plea hearing Tuesday, Burgess admitted to meeting with the informant and undercover agent six times. On three occasions, he sold the pair oxycodone pills, heroin and firearms. He also admitted he possessed other firearms during some of the transactions.

Burgess was arrested April 17 as part of Project Huntington when more than 200 federal, state and local law enforcement agents raided more than a dozen locations throughout Huntington, Ohio and Michigan to take down a drug trade operation and arrest suspects with outstanding warrants.

At the time of his arrest, investigators found at his residence heroin, digital scales and three loaded firearms. Burgess admitted he had intended to distribute the seized heroin and he possessed the firearm for protection during those drug transactions.

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