Houston, Pa. Residents Indicted on Drug and Gun Charges as Part of Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge
PITTSBURGH –A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging two residents of Washington County, Pennsylvania, with violating the federal narcotics and firearms laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
The six-count indictment, returned under seal on October 9, named Vashaun Lasalle Wright, 29, and Alyssa Ashley Adkins, 29, both of Houston, Pa., as the defendants.
According to the indictment, on March 23, 2018, in the Western District of Pennsylvania, Wright and Adkins possessed with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl and a quantity of cocaine. The indictment further charges the defendants with conspiring to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl between March 7, 2018, and March 23, 2018. The defendants, both of whom have prior convictions that prohibit them from possessing firearms and ammunition under federal law, are charged with unlawfully possessing three firearms and ammunition on March 23, 2018, and with possessing those firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence for each defendant of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, a fine of up to $11,500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentences imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of each defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Jerome A. Moschetta and Special Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Wheeler of the Washington County District Attorney’s Office are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Washington County District Attorney’s Office Drug Task Force, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
This case is being prosecuted as part of Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (S.O.S.). On July 12, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions selected the Western District of Pennsylvania as one of ten districts from across the country to implement the program. All cases involving the illegal distribution of synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, arising in Washington County, Pennsylvania will be systematically prosecuted in federal court. The surge in federal resources has the twin goals of reducing the number of overdose fatalities and eliminating drug trafficking in synthetic opioids. The United States Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration, along with the Washington County District Attorney’s Office, the Pennsylvania State Police, and local Washington County Police Departments, are leading Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (S.O.S.).
An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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