3:00pm: Hotline with Dave Weekley

26 people face federal charges in drug operation around Wheeling area

WHEELING, W.Va. — Twenty-six people from multiple states were arrested on Thursday after being charged in a 50-count indictment involving a drug conspiracy, according to U.S. Attorney Bill Powell.

Powell, attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, made the announcement on the waterfront in Wheeling that the drug distribution operation sold cocaine base, also known as “crack,” heroin, methamphetamine, including “ice,” and fentanyl in Ohio County and elsewhere from February 2019 to August 2020.

According to his office’s release, in some instances, the sale of the drugs took place near protected locations such as North Park Apartments, Riverview Towers, Luau Manor, Madison Elementary School, Jensen Playground, Belle Isle Playground, Elks Playground, Bridge Park Playground, West Virginia Northern Community College, Wheeling Central Catholic High School, and Wheeling University.

Those arrested on Thursday and charged are:
–    Jennifer Marie Cuffman, also known as “Jennifer Proctor,”  32, of Martins Ferry, Ohio
–    Carlos Leeper, also known as “Los,” 57, of Wheeling. West Virginia
–    Andre Cornell Diggs, also known as “Dre” and “Big Homie,” 38, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio
–    Jalen Deshon Dalton, also known as “J” and “NBA J,” 27, of Cleveland, Ohio
–    Susan Manuel, 57, of Wheeling, West Virginia
–    Quaison Maurice Harris, also known as “Action,” 35, of Willoughby Hills, Ohio
–    Zachary James Parsons, 30, of Wheeling, West Virginia
–    Erick Lamont Stanback Singleton, also known as “Gotti,” 26, of Cleveland, Ohio
–    Matthew Trabert, 37, of Wheeling, West Virginia
–    Willie Johnson, also known as “Ace,” 36, of Cleveland, Ohio
–    Kristen Hoffler, 24, of Wheeling, West Virginia
–    Larry A. Cuffman, also known as “Pops,” 60, of Martins Ferry, Ohio

Fourteen others are charged and still at large. Their names are not being released at this time by Powell’s office.

“We are sending a strong message to all of those from other states who want to sell drugs in our neighborhoods. We will not tolerate the poison and violence. The residents and business owners on Wheeling Island and the City of Wheeling deserve to live, work, and recreate in a safe neighborhood,” said Powell in a released statement.

Special Agent in Charge Todd Scott, of DEA’s Louisville Division said, “The dedicated men and women of the Drug Enforcement Administration are committed to stopping the flow of drugs and violence into West Virginia and bringing to justice those who seek to poison our communities and threaten the safety of our residents.”

“Violence and drug crime know no borders; we will find you, wherever you are, and put you behind bars,” added Scott.

The government is seeking forfeiture of more than $21,000 in cash and multiple firearms associated with the alleged crimes.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shawn M. Adkins and Clayton J. Reid are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Ohio Valley Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration, West Virginia State Police, Ohio County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wheeling Police Department, investigated. The U.S. Marshal Service, Columbus Police Department Gang Crimes Unit, the Martins Ferry Police Department, and the Bellaire Police Department also assisted.





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