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Project Huntington Update: Huntington Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Drug and Gun Convictions

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Huntington man who was arrested as part of Project Huntington who previously pled guilty to drug and gun charges was sentenced today to 72 months and 1 day in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Eric Lee Burgess, 34, previously entered guilty pleas to distribution of heroin, prohibited possession of a firearm by a drug user, and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Huntington Police Department.

“Burgess was one of many gun-toting drug dealers arrested in Huntington as part of Project Huntington,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Huntington is no doubt a safer city today because of our collaborative efforts.”

On October 7, 2014, a confidential informant and an undercover ATF agent met with Burgess at Burgess’s residence located at 306 9th Street West in Huntington to purchase heroin.  After negotiating the transaction, Burgess distributed approximately 5 grams of heroin to the agent in exchange for $875.  Burgess was also observed using heroin and admitted that he possessed a .40 caliber pistol during the transaction.  On December 16, 2014, the undercover agent again met with Burgess at his residence.  On this occasion, the agent again observed Burgess using heroin and Burgess sold the agent an AR-15 style rifle along with a 30-round magazine.

On April 17, 2018, investigators arrested Burgess at his residence as part of Project Huntington.  Investigators conducted a search of Burgess’s residence and seized a number of items including heroin, digital scales, and three firearms with assorted ammunition.  Burgess admitted that he intended to distribute the heroin that was seized and that he possessed the firearms to serve as protection during heroin transactions. 

Burgess also admitted to meeting with the informant and undercover agent on six additional occasions.  On these occasions, Burgess admitted that he sold the informant and agent oxycodone pills, heroin, and four additional firearms.  Burgess also admitted that he possessed other firearms during some of the transactions and that he was prohibited from possessing firearms based on his drug usage.    

Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams handled the prosecution.  United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentence.

This prosecution is part of Project Huntington, an effort announced by United States Attorney Mike Stuart in March 2018 in response to the opiate epidemic and violent crime in southern West Virginia. 

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