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Fifteen Accused in Pain Pill Ring

Feds announce results of 14-month investigation into local distribution of cocaine and painkillers

February 11, 2014
By FRED CONNORS Senior Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - What started as a tip from a confidential informant in October 2012 pointing to alleged drug activity in the local area ended Monday with the indictment of 15 local people on 83 separate drug charges.

During the 14-month investigation - which culminated in January first with the arrest of Ritchie Elementary School counselor Kristyn Fetcko and then, days later, alleged pill ring leader Brian Schultz - the drug ring allegedly dealt tens of thousands of prescription painkillers, cocaine and other drugs in the local area, federal officials said.

Local police agencies on Monday rounded up all 15 area residents named in the 83-count federal indictment alleging their role in the drug ring. U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld, accompanied by Ohio County Sheriff Pat Butler, Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger and Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Parr, named Schultz, 37, of Triadelphia as the lead defendant in the case.

Article Photos

Photo by Fred Connors
Announcing the indictment of 15 people involved in an alleged pill ring Monday are, from left, Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Ohio County Sheriff Pat Butler, U.S Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II and Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Parr.

Along with Schultz and Fetcko, the U.S. Attorney's office named the following people in the indictment: Katherine Hungerman, Dustin Namack, Derick Namack, Jill West, Steven L. Namack, Christopher Howard, Buddy Robert Salem Jr., Michael Coppa, Cara Olako, Richard A. Hercules Jr., Lucas N. High, Jordan Sorge and Adam W. Barnes.

Schultz, who is known as "Worm," is alleged to be the supplier to the dealers in the drug ring. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances, conspiracy to engage in interstate travel in aid of racketeering, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, possession with intent to distribute "buprenorphine" and maintaining a drug-involved premise.

"Schultz is alleged to be the leader of a group that received oxycodone and other prescription drugs from suppliers in northern Ohio and Detroit, Mich., and then redistributed them in the Ohio Valley," Ihlenfeld said.

Fact Box

FIFTEEN INDICTED

Brian Schultz

Kristyn Fetcko

Katherine Hungerman

Dustin Namack

Derick Namack

Jill West

Steven L. Namack

Christopher Howard

Buddy Robert Salem Jr.

Michael Coppa

Cara Olako

Richard A. Hercules Jr.

Lucas N. High

Jordan Sorge

Adam W. Barnes

Ihlenfeld said sophisticated surveillance techniques were used during the 14-month investigation that ended with the execution of three search warrants in January at homes connected with the case. Agents recovered thousands of pills via controlled purchases and court-authorized searches.

The indictment also calls for the federal government to seize Schultz's home at 22 Dimmick Addition, Triadelphia, his 2007 GMC Yukon Denali and $70,698 in cash found during the execution of search warrants.

In addition to the drug money, the government is seeking a $450,000 cash judgment against Schultz and others for proceeds derived from the alleged drug activity.

Federal marshals took Schultz into custody Monday morning at his home. He will appear for a detention hearing later this week.

Schultz also faces state charges in West Virginia following a Jan. 27 altercation he had with an Ohio County sheriff's deputy and a West Virginia state trooper. A sheriff's department report said Schultz stuck a box cutter blade into his chest two days following his release from federal custody and then fought with a deputy attempting to assist him.

All of the other defendants named in Monday's indictment have been arrested and will be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 20 before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Seibert.

While Schultz faces up to 20 years in prison, some co-defendants could get up to 40 years. Ihlenfeld said those looking at higher sentences are accused of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a protected area - a school, church or playground, for example.

In addition to Schultz, the federal government announced the following indictments:

-- Katherine Hungerman, also known as "Kat" or "Bubs," 44, of Shadyside, 10 counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances and conspiracy to engage in interstate travel in aid of racketeering. She could face up to 20 years in prison.

-- Dustin Namack, also known as "Dusty," 36, of Adena, 23 counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances and conspiracy to engage in interstate travel in aid of racketeering and multiple counts of distribution of oxycodone within 1,000 feet of a protected location. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

-- Derick Namack, 39, of Wheeling, four counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances and conspiracy to engage in interstate travel in aid of racketeering. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

-- Jill West, also known as Jill Namack, 31, of Wheeling, four counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances and conspiracy to engage in interstate travel in aid of racketeering. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

-- Steven L. Namack, 64, of Wheeling, 20 counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances, conspiracy to engage in interstate travel in aid of racketeering, and multiple counts of distribution of oxycodone within 1,000 feet of a protected location. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

-- Christopher Howard, also known as "Fatboy" or "Fatty," 39, of Wheeling, 30 counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances, conspiracy to engage in interstate travel in aid of racketeering, distribution of cocaine and multiple counts of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

-- Buddy Robert Salem Jr., also known as "B.J.," 32, Wheeling, five counts including distribution of oxycodone and aiding and abetting the distribution of oxycodone. He could face up to 20 years in prison .

-- Kristyn Elizabeth Fetcko, 33, of Wheeling, five counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances, maintaining a drug-involved premise and multiple counts of aiding and abetting in the distribution of oxycodone. Fetcko faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

-- Michael Coppa, 48, of Wheeling, four counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

-- Cara Olako, also known as Cara Green, 36, of Wheeling, five counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances, and aiding and abetting the distribution of oxycodone within 1,000 feet of a protected location. She faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

-- Richard A. Hercules Jr., 49, of McMechen, three counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

-- Lucas N. High, 36, of Wheeling, two counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

-- Adam W. Barnes, 39, of Wheeling, three counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

-- Jordan Sorge, 22, of Wheeling, two counts including conspiracy to distribute schedule II and III controlled substances. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

 
 
 

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