Michigan man sentenced to five years for federal drug crime

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY)- A Michigan man was sentenced to federal prison for participating in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) in Raleigh County, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.

Clifford Howell, 31, of Eastpointe, Michigan, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, to be followed by a five-year term of supervised release.

Howell is one of 17 defendants charged in federal court as a result of a long-term investigation known as Operation Shutdown Corner.

“Great work by the more than 200 law enforcement agents from more than five states who were involved in Operation Shutdown Corner,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “The operation took down a major drug trafficking organization and 17 people have been charged as a result. It stands as a significant achievement in our goal to rid our district of out-of-state drug dealers.”

Howell admitted at his plea hearing in June 2020 that between June 2018 and September 17, 2019, he worked with other members of a DTO operating in Raleigh County to distribute heroin. During this time period, Howell admitted to traveling to Michigan to obtain heroin, and then returning to the Southern District of West Virginia to supply other members of the DTO with the heroin. Howell admitted that during this time period he supplied other members of the DTO with more than 100 grams of heroin, knowing it was the plan and purpose of the other members to redistribute the drugs within the Southern District of West Virginia.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Beckley/Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office, the Beckley Police Department and the West Virginia State Police.