Lee County Sheriff Gary Parsons said the six individuals were arrested on drug charges detailed in a 15-count indictment handed down Monday by a federal grand jury in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon.
Among those arrested by local and federal authorities Tuesday were: Stephen Alexander Fritz, 41, 166 Trenton Mullins Drive, Duffield; Jimmy William McCann, 60, 228 Head Hollow Road, Duffield; Ricky Eugene Head, 53, 584 Kane Gap Road, Lot 12, Duffield; Sylvia Jordan Milam, 24, 743 Kimberlin Road, Duffield; and William Elmer Fleenor, 56, and Brody Zane Fleenor, 23, both of 41883 Wilderness Gap Road, Pennington Gap.
All six face charges of distribution of Schedule II and III narcotics and conspiracy to distribute Schedule II and III narcotics.
McCann was also charged with distribution of a firearm by a convicted felon and use of a firearm during a drug-trafficking offense.
The indictment alleges that between February 2008 and February 2013, Fritz, McCann, Head, Milam and both Fleenors, in addition to others, conspired to distribute a variety of prescription narcotics — including oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and buprenorphine — in Southwest Virginia.
Parsons said the indictments were based on numerous controlled drug buys involving the suspects that took place between January 2012 and February 2013. Those purchases were part of a joint investigation carried out by Lee County authorities and federal agencies including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia.
Members of those agencies, as well as the U.S. Marshals Service and Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force arrested all six suspects Tuesday as part of a larger roundup of 44 individuals wanted mostly on state drug charges.
Parsons said authorities also executed a search warrant Tuesday at McCann’s Stickleyville home.
Parsons said several of the suspects facing federal charges were also connected to former Pennington Gap Police Chief Bryan Young, who was recently convicted of drug distribution and burglary charges.
Fritz, Head and McCann were all identified by authorities in the federal criminal complaint filed against Young at the time of his arrest in October 2012.
In that complaint, ATF Agent Steve Levesque wrote that Young identified Fritz and Head as “big drug dealers” and told authorities that McCann “used to take guns in on trade for pills.”
Young also reportedly included Fritz and Head’s names in a list of 18 suspected drug dealers living in the Stickleyville area that he provided to federal and state investigators, according to the complaint.