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Guilty plea details pill conspiracy

May. 02, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- This week's guilty plea from a South Point, Ohio, man revealed a conspiracy responsible for funneling in pain pills from the southeast since 2008.

Vernon Lee Browning, 45, pleaded guilty Monday before U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers. It represents one of several pleas recently taken by the judge.

Browning signed an agreement with prosecutors stating he sold 18 oxymorphone pills to a confidential informant for $990. It took place March 13, 2012, at Browning's business, "The Little Garage on the Corner" located in the 300 block of 13th Street West.

Sentencing is set for July 29.

The plea agreement also linked Browning to broader involvement dating back to 2008 or early 2009, but federal prosecutors agreed to dismiss a conspiracy charge in exchange for his plea to the March 13 transaction.

The broader conspiracy involved Browning having traveled and organized trips for others to obtain pills in Florida and Georgia. That involved renting vehicles from local companies, booking rooms at a specific hotel in Atlanta and helping his assistants get a Georgia driver's license so they could obtain the pills in Georgia once they were prescribed by a doctor, according to the agreement.

Browning's eventual arrest came in early March 2013, days after he and others traveled to Georgia. They purchased pills there and had 240 oxycodone pills shipped back to his residence, however that package was intercepted by authorities, according to the plea agreement.

Federal prosecutors also dismissed an additional distribution charge in exchange for Browning's admission.

Browning was detained at the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Ky. Charges are still pending against co-defendants Herman Edison Aliff Jr. and Jeffrey Allen King.

Man admits to pill trafficking

Steven Dwight Ash pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Sentencing is set for Aug. 5.

Ash, 25, signed an agreement with prosecutors that linked him to multiple oxycodone transactions in Huntington from September to November 2012. They involved varying drug amounts and several totaled more than $2,000.

Ash told federal agents he had received a minimum of 2,100 oxycodone pills of varying weight.

Federal prosecutors dismissed an aiding and abetting charge in exchange for Ash's admission.

Ash was detained at the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Ky. Charges are still pending against co-defendants Michael Lenard Dewberry, Yvonne Denise Ash and Jerry Keith Walls II.

Kenova woman admits guilt in ADHD pill case

Amy Shantel Hatfield pleaded guilty fraudulently obtaining medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It convicted her of a single count of obtaining the prescription drug by misrepresentation, fraud, deception and subterfuge. Sentencing is set for Aug. 5.

Hatfield of Kenova signed an agreement with prosecutors stating that she used her son's name to obtain prescription medication for her personal abuse.

It further states Hatfield obtained 30 lisdexamfetamine pills June 21, 2012. The pills, known by the brand name Vyvanse, were prescribed by her son's physician and purchased from a Adams Avenue pharmacy. She did not have custody of her son at the time.

The plea agreement also linked Hatfield to additional incidents through Aug. 22, 2012, however federal prosecutors dismissed those charges in exchanged for her admission. She was released on bond.

Follow Curtis Johnson via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD and http://facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD.

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