BLUEFIELD, WV (WOAY) – A New York man pled guilty today for his participation in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) in Mercer County, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. James Walker, 43, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, oxymorphone, oxycodone and hydromorphone.
Walker was charged as a result of a long-term, multi-state investigation known as Operation X-Nation. As part of the plea agreement, Walker also agreed to forfeit $150,000, which represents proceeds generated from his drug trafficking activity.
“The diversion of prescription opioids has devastated our southernmost counties,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “We are holding pill pushers like Walker accountable through criminal prosecution and forfeiture of illegal proceeds.”
Walker admitted that between August 2017 and August 31, 2019, he participated in a DTO operating in Mercer County. During this time, Walker worked with other members of the DTO to distribute prescription pills and cocaine in and around Mercer County. More specifically, Walker admitted to facilitating drug transactions with people he now knows were working with law enforcement as confidential informants, who would call him to purchase drugs. Walker would then direct the informant to one of several trailers he owned in different trailer parks in Mercer County. Once the informants arrived at the trailer park, Walker would then direct them to meet with a particular member of the DTO to purchase the drugs. Walker and other members of the DTO also had telephone calls intercepted by law enforcement. In these calls Walker and others were discussing drug transactions including the pricing and quantities of different substances. Walker further admitted that he was arrested in New York after having calls intercepted by law enforcement. At the time of his arrest, Walker was in possession of approximately 1,500 prescription pills that he intended to distribute. He also was arrested in Princeton on January 10, 2020. At that time Walker was driving a car that had a hidden mechanical trap that he admitted was used to transport controlled substances.
Walker faces up to 20 years in federal prison and $1 million fine, to be followed by at least three years of supervised release, when he is sentenced on December 14, 2020.
The investigation was conducted by 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.
Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Timothy D. Boggess is handling the prosecution.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-00307.