McDowell County man enters guilty plea to federal drug and gun crimes

BLUEFIELD, WV (WOAY)- United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced today that Jan Rucker, 28, of McDowell County, formerly of Princeton, pled guilty to possession with the intent to distribute hydromorphone and using and carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Rucker was charged as a result of a long-term, multi-state, investigation known as Operation X-Nation. “Pills and guns – a combination we’ve seen again and again,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “In turn, we’ll keep prosecuting gun-toting drug dealers again and again.”

Rucker admitted that on August 30, 2019, he was stopped by law enforcement officers while driving his truck in Princeton.  After the traffic stop, law enforcement officers found approximately 507 hydromorphone pills, $1,543 in cash, and two firearms.  Rucker admitted that he possessed the pills with the intent to distribute them in and around Mercer County.  Rucker further admitted that he used and carried the firearms during the drug trafficking crime.  Rucker also admitted that he now knows that law enforcement officers intercepted telephone calls prior to the traffic stop.  As part of the plea agreement, Rucker agreed to forfeit the firearms recovered during the traffic stop as well as the $1,543 in cash that he admitted was proceeds of drug trafficking activity.

Rucker faces up to 20 years in federal prison on the drug offense, followed by a mandatory minimum period of five years on the gun charge, and a fine up to $1,250,000 when he is sentenced on March 23, 2021.  After serving a term of imprisonment, Rucker will serve at least three years of supervised release.

Stuart commended the cooperative investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, which is composed of officers from the West Virginia State Police, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, the Princeton Police Department, and the Bluefield Police Department.   Each agency provided additional and essential support throughout this investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Timothy D. Boggess is in charge of the prosecution.  The plea hearing was held before Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber.