A Detroit man who led a multi-year conspiracy to distribute heroin in the Huntington area was sentenced today to 20 years in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.
Charles Duncan Pippins, 49, was previously convicted following a jury trial in January 2018 of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. Pippins also pled guilty to the other indicted charges – one count of distributing heroin and one count of possessing heroin with intent to distribute. Stuart commended the investigation conducted by the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department.
“This sentence should put other Detroit drug dealers on notice,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “If you come into our communities selling dangerous drugs like heroin and fentanyl, we will lock you up for a very long time.”
During the trial, witnesses for the United States testified that from the summer of 2013 to September 2016, Pippins conspired with others to distribute over 100 grams of heroin in the Huntington area. The evidence showed that during the course of the conspiracy, Pippins recruited multiple co-conspirators who transported heroin on his behalf from his residence in Detroit to Huntington. Witnesses testified that Pippins used the same individuals to distribute heroin, and to rent hotel rooms in their names, which he used for selling heroin. The evidence further showed that Pippins would front heroin to individuals to sell, and that they would bring the cash proceeds back to him at hotels in Huntington or at his residence in Detroit.
Pippins also pleaded guilty to the other indicted charges, admitting that on September 12, 2016, deputies with the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department used a confidential informant to make a controlled purchase of heroin from Pippins. The informant traveled to the Days Inn Hotel located on U.S. Route 60 in Huntington, where Pippins distributed heroin to the informant. Deputies executed a search warrant on his room, and as agents entered, Pippins flushed heroin down the toilet. During the search of the room, deputies seized approximately six grams of heroin that Pippins admitted he intended to sell. An analyst with the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory confirmed that the heroin was mixed with fentanyl, a powerful opiate painkiller.
At today’s sentencing hearing, the Court found that Pippins was responsible for the distribution of at least 3 kilograms of heroin during the conspiracy. The Court also imposed an increased sentence based on Pippins’ role as an organizer and leader of the conspiracy.
Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph F. Adams and Matt Davis handled the prosecution. The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.
This case was part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs and heroin. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers and heroin in communities across the Southern District.