From a Release by U.S. Attorney's Office for Southern District of WV

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) - The following defendants have entered guilty pleas before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chambers for offenses ranging from firearms and counterfeiting to drugs and theft of government benefits:

Three of the cases are  being prosecuted as part of a yearlong undercover operation that targeted illegal drugs and firearms crimes in the Huntington area. The operation was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and assisted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Huntington Police Department, and various other law enforcement agencies. It was announced to the public in March after a grand jury returned indictments against 55 defendants.

HUNTINGTON MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGAL FIREARMS POSSESSION AND COUNTERFEITING CHARGES

Joshua Douglas Hatten, 21, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms and to making counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes. Hatten admitted that he knowingly sold firearms, controlled substances, and counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes (CFRN) to undercover agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) on various dates between September and October 2010. On or about September 24, 2010, the defendant admitted to selling two .380 caliber pistols to an undercover ATF agent in exchange for $200. On or about September 28, 2010, the defendant further admitted to selling a .308 caliber rifle to an undercover ATF agent in exchange for $350. On or about October 19, 2010, Hatten sold a 9-millimeter pistol to an undercover ATF agent for $175 and on or about October 19 and 28, 2010, the defendant sold counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes to an undercover agent.

On November 1, 2010, Hatten was driving a vehicle that was stopped in or near Huntington by a trooper from the West Virginia State Police. During the traffic stop, the defendant and his associate were subsequently found to be in possession of counterfeit money. That same day, investigators executed a search warrant at the defendant’s Huntington residence where they seized an all-in-one printer, high-quality linen paper, counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes and other materials commonly used to manufacture counterfeit currency. In January, investigators executed a second search warrant at Hatten’s Huntington residence where they seized additional quantities of counterfeit currency and a Norinco SKS assault rifle, among other items. Hatten waived his Miranda rights and admitted to making and passing counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes in and around Huntington and elsewhere.

Hatten was prohibited from possessing a firearm based on prior felony convictions on or about January 7, 2007. Hatten faces up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when he is sentenced on August 22, 2011.

HUNTINGTON MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL DRUG CHARGES

Sontez Desaun Lomax, 31, pleaded guilty to distribution of cocaine base, also known as “crack.” The defendant admitted to meeting with an undercover ATF agent at Smokin’ Aces which was located in Huntington and advised the agent that he could provide cocaine at a price of $1,300 per ounce. Lomax further admitted that on or about September 9, 2010, he gave the undercover agent what he represented to be two ounces of cocaine in exchange for $2,600. A subsequent laboratory test identified the substance as crack cocaine.

Lomax faces up to 20 years in prison and a $ 1 million fine when he is sentenced on August 22, 2011.

OHIO MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL DRUG CHARGES


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. –Kevlin Jackson, 30, of Columbus, Ohio, pleaded guilty in federal court of  distribution of cocaine. On August 19, 2010, the defendant arrived at Smokin’ Aces, a store in Huntington, following a prearranged drug transaction agreement made by one of his associates and an undercover ATF agent. Jackson admitted to asking one of the undercover agents present for a scale and placed a plastic bag which contained a white substance on the weighing device. Jackson further admitted to negotiating a price and subsequently sold the substance to the undercover agent for $1500. The substance was sent to the DEA Mid-Atlantic Laboratory where it tested positive for cocaine with a weight of 23.9 grams.

Jackson faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine when he is sentenced on August 29, 2011.

Assistant United States Attorney Greg McVey is in charge of the prosecution.

HUNTINGTON MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO THEFT OF GOVERNMENT BENEFITS

Darryl J. Hodgkinson, 60 , pleaded guilty   to theft of public money. On or about July 1, 1998, Hodgkinson applied for Veterans Affairs Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) benefits. Hodgkinson admitted that he knowingly and intentionally submitted false and fictitious documents to the VA in order to qualify for military benefits that he was not entitled to receive. Hodgkinson further admitted to presenting numerous combat awards, citations and experiences that he did not earn, was not awarded and did not experience.

In or about September 7, 2001, Hodgkinson was granted PTSD benefits. On or about December 7, 2001, Hodgkinson was granted Employment benefits in conjunction with and related to the PTSD benefits. Because of the defendant’s false claims regarding his service record in Vietnam, he received benefits that he would not have otherwise been entitled to receive in the amount of $324,800 from September 7, 2001 to April 1, 2010.

Hodgkinson faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on August 15, 2011.

The investigation was conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Erik Goes is handling the prosecution.

This case was prosecuted as part of the U.S. Attorney's Initiative to Combat Theft of Government Benefits launched in June 2008. The Initiative is designed to protect public funds and to prosecute those who steal benefits from public programs or agencies such as the Railroad Retirement Board, US Veterans Administration, Social Security Administration, and the Department of Labor.

OHIO MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGAL FIREARMS POSSESSION CHARGE


Terry Jay Aldridge, 38, of Proctorville, Ohio, pleaded guilty  to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Aldridge admitted that on July 28, 2009, he traveled to the O’Charley’s restaurant in Barboursville, West Virginia to confront an individual. According to witnesses, at the time of the confrontation, the defendant pointed a 9-millimeter handgun at the known individual. An officer with the Barboursville Police Department responded to the scene and subsequently detained the defendant. The defendant stated that he had a 9-millimeter handgun in his pocket and the officer recovered the firearm, along with a 9-millimeter magazine and eight rounds of ammunition from the defendant’s pockets. According to the defendant’s criminal history, in 1992, Aldridge had been convicted of an aggravated felony of the second degree in Lawrence County, Ohio.

Aldridge faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on August 29, 2011.

This case was investigated by the Huntington Police Department. Special Assistant United States Attorney Joe Adams is in charge of the prosecution.

CHARLESTON MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL OXYCODONE CHARGE

Rashid Omari Kent, 27, of Charleston, pleaded guilty today  to possession with intent to distribute oxycodone. Kent admitted that on or about April 7, 2010, he sold five 80-milligram oxycodone tablets to an informant working for the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office. The drug transaction occurred at the defendant’s Charleston residence. Following the drug transaction, investigators executed a search warrant at the defendant’s home where they seized approximately 53 80-milligram oxycodone tablets and approximately $809 cash. The defendant further admitted that he had been distributing oxycodone in and around Kanawha County for approximately seven months prior to April 7, 2010.

Kent faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine when he is sentenced on August 11, 2011.

This case was investigated by the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Josh Hanks is in charge of the prosecution.