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Former Pennington Gap police chief sentenced on federal drug, robbery charges

Wes Bunch • May 29, 2013 at 7:45 AM

BIG STONE GAP — The former police chief for the town of Pennington Gap who pleaded guilty to dealing drugs in uniform and orchestrating a pharmacy robbery will spend the next nine years in prison after he was sentenced for Tuesday morning in federal court.

William Bryan Young, 39, of Duffield, was ordered to serve 108 months in federal prison and complete three years of supervised probation upon his release. Young must also pay $11,571 in restitution.

In January, Young pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute oxycodone and one count of burglary of a pharmacy, related to the burglary of the Rite-Aid pharmacy in Pennington Gap on September 28, 2012.

Young’s co-defendants, Kevin Andrew Young, 35, of Duffield, Va., and Chris Miles, 35, of Duffield, Va., previously entered guilty pleas to one count of burglary of a pharmacy.

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Timothy Heaphy said Young took advantage of his position of power.

“Rather than using his police power to protect and serve, William Bryan Young abused his authority to facilitate his drug habit,” Heaphy said today. “Young arranged numerous transactions in which he sold prescription medication to other drug abusers. He even coordinated a commercial burglary as part of his ongoing, desperate search for pills.

“Mr. Young tarnished the badge he once wore and betrayed the trust of the people of Pennington Gap. This sad case demonstrates how pervasive and dangerous prescription drug abuse can be, and how it pervades all levels of society. This office will continue to bring a comprehensive approach to the prescription drug problem, combining strong enforcement with education and treatment.”

ATF Special Agent in Charge Carl Vasilko echoed Heaphy’s sentiments about the case.

“William Bryan Young not only violated the law, but he also violated the trust placed in him by the public that he was sworn to serve and protect,” Vasilko said. “ATF remains committed to aggressively investigate any person who commits firearm related violent crime in our communities.”

According to evidence presented by federal prosecutors, federal authorities began investigating Young’s links to drug dealers in Lee County with the help of local and state law enforcement.

The investigation identified Young as a “long-time user” of controlled substances, and determined he had sold prescription painkillers while serving as police chief and helped orchestrate the burglary of approximately 5,000 pills from the Rite Aid pharmacy in Pennington Gap.

Authorities said on the night of the burglary, Young send all Pennington Gap Police Department personnel home to ensure he was the only officers on duty during the shift.

Just prior to the 2:50 a.m. burglary, authorities said Young contacted officers with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to determine their positions relative to the pharmacies location. Once Young discovered no officers were close to the location, he contacted co-defendants Kevin Young, who is also his brother, Jimmy Johnson and Chris Miles to tell them to carry out the break-in.

Authorities said Young later received a portion of the 5,000 pills taken during the burglary.

Several weeks after the burglary, Young reportedly sold 20 oxycodone pills to an ATF informant while in police uniform. Young was arrested later that same day by members of the ATF and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

A subsequent search of his police cruiser located the money used by the informant and another 13 pain pills.

Authorities also searched Young’s residence, turning up 548 Percocet pills and firearms. Investigators also reportedly found several empty evidence bags that had contained controlled substances inside Young’s personal vehicle.

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