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Five sentenced in massive Gravel conspiracy

Nick Shepherd • Jul 14, 2016 at 3:55 PM

Sentences were handed down to five people in federal court this week for their roles in a massive conspiracy to distribute alpha-PVP, known as Gravel, in Southwest Virginia from 2012 to 2015, according to a press release.

All five previously pleaded guilty to at least one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent distribute alpha-PVP.

Evidence presented at previous hearings showed that those five and other members of the conspiracy placed orders for the powder form of alpha-PVP from distributors in Florida and China. Those orders would be shipped to an address in Wise, Virginia, and the packages would then be retrieved and distributed to mid and low-level dealers around Wise for distribution, the release stated.

The hard form of alpha-PVP, known as Gravel, would be transported to suppliers in North Carolina and Tennessee from Wise. Those involved in the conspiracy would break down the larger quantities of gravel into smaller amounts for sale to users.

“Synthetic drugs are often times more dangerous and addicting than street drugs,” United States Attorney John P. Fishwick said in a press release. “We will continue to dedicate federal resources to working with our law enforcement partners to ending conspiracies like this one. These individuals fed off the addictions of others, and for that, they have been justly punished.”

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Postal Service, the Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force, the Virginia State Police, the Big Stone Gap Police Department, the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Norton Police Department, the Dickenson County Sheriff’s Office, the Sullivan County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Office, the Coeburn Police Department, the Clintwood Police Department and the Wise Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Erin M. Kulpa prosecuted the case for the United States.

Those charged are as follows:

Samuel Lee Courtney, 55, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 564 grams of alpha-PVP and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He was sentenced to 117 months in federal prison.

Bernard Anthony Murphy, 52, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 450 grams of alpha-PVP. He was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison.

Lesley Marie Banks, 44, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 370 grams of alpha-PVP. She was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.

Eric Cameron Bright, 47, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 10 kilograms of alpha-PVP. He was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison.

Victoria Diane Campbell, 25, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 1.5 kilograms of alpha-PVP. She was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison.

 

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