'A-list' offenders identified
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Federal authorities identified 13 "A-list" offenders from this year's Drug Market Intervention initiative targeting Charleston's West Side.
All of the men have been charged with drug offenses and none will receive the second chance offered to their counterparts on the U.S. Attorney's "B-list" of offenders. Charges against the 13 men have already been filed in U.S. District Court.
Some have only recently been indicted, while a handful has plea hearings scheduled.
The 13 were identified as: Antoine Maurice Brown, 30, of Charleston, conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine; Jamaal D. Davis, 22, of Charleston, conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine; Deandre D. Coleman, 22, of Charleston, conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine; Derrick Dujuan Greathouse, 36, of Columbus, Ohio, possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute; Matt Quinn, 22, of Charleston, possession of heroin with intent to deliver; Willie Slocum Jr., 34, of Detroit, conspiracy to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin; Clifton Belcher, 24, of Charleston, distribution of crack cocaine; Brandon "Fresh" Solomon, 19, of Charleston, distribution of heroin; Donnell Dwayne Diego, 33, of Charleston, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute; William Richmond, 31, of Charleston, distribution of crack cocaine; Kermit Ware III, 24, of Charleston, using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime; Braheem Griffin, 19, of Charleston, felon in possession of a firearm; Curtis Watkins, 24, of Charleston, felon in possession of a firearm.
Their names and photographs lined the walls Thursday evening at the staged intervention at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church on First Avenue where federal and local authorities met with the five individuals on the "B-list" of offenders.
Those five, made up of four men and one woman, were non-violent offenders who had been involved in drug activity. The community was willing to give those five a second, but last, chance to turn their lives around.
Their names were not released, as they have not been prosecuted.
The initiative, which is in its second year, is similar to one that operated with some success in Huntington. The program ran in Huntington's Fairfield neighborhood, which was once the site of 60 percent of the city's drug crimes. That number dropped to 10 percent after the initiative's run, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
The program was first implemented in High Point, N.C. Authorities identified the crime-laden areas, identified the drug dealers and then built cases against them. Then the cases were broken down, classifying the most violent offenders as "A-listers" and the non-violent offenders as "B-listers."
Those non-violent offenders then are called in for an "intervention" and to hear from law enforcement and the community. They are offered opportunities to get treatment for addiction if that is an issue and also help with employment and education.
If they fail at the attempt at rehabilitation they are prosecuted with the "A-listers," whose cases already are in the works.
Brown, Davis, and Coleman were indicted on the charges last month and already had their initial appearance in federal court. According to the indictment, the three worked together from April to July 2013 to sell heroin and crack cocaine in the Charleston area. Each faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.
Greathouse was indicted in October after authorities found him in August with more than 20 grams of crack cocaine. A trial was set for 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 3 before U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver. He faces up to 40 years.
Quinn pleaded guilty Nov. 19 to possession of heroin with intent. Quinn was arrested in September during a traffic stop near Charleston after traveling to Ohio with three others to buy heroin. Authorities found 10 grams of heroin in two packages in his rectum, according to court records. He faces up to 20 years when he is sentence Feb. 27.
Slocum was indicted last month on possession with intent of heroin. According to the indictment, Slocum distributed more than 100 grams of heroin in the Charleston area from November 2012 to September 2013. He faces up to 20 years.
A trial date was set for Belcher, indicted in October for selling crack cocaine in January 2013, was set for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 3 before Copenhaver. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
A guilty plea hearing was set for Thursday for Solomon, who was indicted in October for selling heroin. Solomon sold heroin in Charleston in August, according to the indictments. He faces up to 20 years.
Diego was indicted in November with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of oxycodone with intent. Diego is a convicted felon and allegedly had a .45-caliber and a 9-millimeter handgun in his possession in October. He faces up to 20 years.
A guilty plea hearing was set for Dec. 30 for Richmond, who is accused of selling crack cocaine in Charleston in June. He faces up to 20 years.
A motion was filed in November to set a guilty plea hearing for Ware, who was indicted in October for using a phone to set up drug deals. No hearing date had been set as of Tuesday. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
Griffin was sentenced Dec. 9 to 41 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in July to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Watkins faces up to 10 years. Sentencing is Jan. 9. Watkins pleaded guilty in October to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at email@example.com or 304-348-4850.