NEW WEDNESDAY: Update on Bartow drug suspects facing charges in West Virginia
WV News reports that two of three defendants in alleged major drug conspiracies centered on North Central West Virginia were before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi on Tuesday for arraignments. Pleading innocent in one case were William Gregory “Will” Chappell, 31, and Terrick Robinson, 33, both of Cartersville. A third defendant, Seddrick Damond Banks, remains in custody in Bartow County and has yet to have an initial appearance on the indictment returned earlier this month by grand jurors meeting in Wheeling.
The Greater Harrison Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, Three Rivers Drug Task Force, state police and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. The commander of Greater Harrison has accused the three of participating in a large-scale conspiracy to repeatedly bring drugs (cocaine and methamphetamine) to the Mountain State for redistribution.
If convicted of conspiracy, each of the three would face at least 10 years in prison, but that could trend up into decades or even life depending on what the government could prove and the criminal histories of the defendants.
Robinson, represented by Clarksburg attorney Tom Dyer, and Chappell, represented by Assistant Federal Defender Beth Gross, remain jailed pending prosecution.
A trial date has yet to be set by Senior U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley, who will await the arraignment of Banks.
According to WVNews.com, three defendants, all from Cartersville, have been indicted federally in an alleged large-scale Georgia-to-West Virginia cocaine and methamphetamine distribution conspiracy.
Indicted earlier this week by grand jurors meeting in Wheeling (W.V.) were William Gregory “Will” Chappell, 31, of Cartersville, Bartow County, Georgia; Terrick Robinson, 33, of Cartersville; and Sheddrick Damond Banks, of Cartersville.
All three are named in the conspiracy count, which alleges wrongdoing from May to Sept. 4 in Marion County and elsewhere in West Virginia’s Northern District. All three also are named in an aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute meth charge. It alleges wrongdoing Sept. 4 in Marion County involving 500 or more grams of the drug.
Robinson also is accused of distribution of meth Sept. 4 in Marion County, in exchange for $5,500 in cash.
Chappell and Banks are also charged with aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute cocaine, Sept. 4 in Marion County.
Chappell and Banks also each are facing a charge alleging possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Each possessed a handgun Sept. 4 in Marion County, the government alleges.
The commander of the Greater Harrison Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force — who’s never lost a case in federal court — has accused the three in a large-scale conspiracy to repeatedly bring drugs to the Mountain State for redistribution.
Greater Harrison worked in close concert over the late spring and most of the summer on the case with state police, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the commander of the Three Rivers Drug Task Force, according to an affidavit filed by the commander.
The men became targets of an ongoing investigation by the Greater Harrison and Three Rivers drug task forces when a trooper for Mountaineer Highway Interdiction Team South investigated an incident involving a large amount of meth found in a White Hall hotel, according to an affidavit filed by the Greater Harrison commander, a Bridgeport police lieutenant.
The ensuing four-month investigation went from White Hall, to Bridgeport, to Jane Lew, to Fairmont and even to Elkview and Charleston, with sources of information and confidential informants employed, and Drug Enforcement Administration special agents from both Northern and Southern West Virginia assisting, according to the affidavit filed by the Greater Harrison commander.
Surveillance was conducted in a Jane Lew hotel that was indicative of drug trafficking, according to the commander’s affidavit.
Robinson reportedly would bring in the drugs, while Chappell, with guns, served as protection for Robinson, the drugs and the proceeds, the commander asserted, citing sources. Banks’ role isn’t clear from the court file.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Traci Cook is prosecuting, and is seeking a money forfeiture of over $17,000, plus three pistols, two semiautomatic rifles and a pump shotgun.
Senior U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley will preside in Clarksburg.
From Hometown: Banks is currently jailed in Bartow County. He was transferred from West Virginia on Sept. 30 to face felony possession of firearm and probation violations, according to Bartow County Jail reports.