CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Authorities say an Ohio man was doing more than fixing cars at the Huntington auto garage where he worked.
Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers on Monday sentenced Vernon Browning, 45, of South Point, Ohio to five years and 10 months in federal prison after he admitted he funded and put together trips to Georgia to buy pills that he planned to sell in Huntington. He pleaded guilty in April to distribution of oxycodone, according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.
Browning began funding and organizing trips to Atlanta to buy oxycodone and oxymorphone pills in 2008. Those pills were brought back to the Little Garage on the Corner in Huntington where he and others stored and sold them, the release said.
"Mr. Browning evidently wasn't just fixing cars; he was fueling an illegal pill trafficking enterprise," Goodwin said. "Fighting the pill epidemic has been my office's leading priority. Pill dealers will be caught and they will be prosecuted."
Browning sold 18 30-milligram oxymorphone pills for $990 to a confidential informant at the garage. The informant was working for the Huntington Violent Crime and Drug Task Force.
Authorities said Browning rented vehicles for the trips to Atlanta and helped others get drivers' licenses in effort to get legitimate prescriptions from doctors in Georgia. He also rented hotel rooms on 32 occasions between January and July 2012 and usually paid in cash for the rooms.
Officers also bought pills from him at his South Point home.
He traveled to Georgia for pills on March 3, 2013. He mailed 240 30-milligram oxycodone pills back to his Ohio home. Police intercepted that package.
Assistant U.S. Attorney George McVey handled prosecution.
Other Cops and Courts Headlines4 dead, including 2 bystanders, in Clarksburg shooting