5 charged in alleged drug ring operating out of Petersburg and Moorefield

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ELKINS, W.Va. (WHSV) — Five people from Grant and Hardy counties have been charged as part of a group accused of distributing methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl.

According to United States Attorney Bill Powell, indictments were handed down by a federal grand jury in Elkins on June 18 and unsealed this week.

Those indictments include the following suspects.

Melanie Lyn Outen, a 47-year-old Petersburg woman, was indicted on one count of “Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Fentanyl" and one count of “Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl.” Prosecutors say she distributed more than 40 grams of fentanyl and a small amount of methamphetamine in Jefferson County this past April.

Ted Alexander Voss, a 29-year-old Petersburg man, was indicted on one count of “Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Fentanyl,” one count of “Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl,” and one count of “Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.” He's accused of distributing more than 40 grams of fentanyl in Jefferson County, as well as distributing methamphetamine in Berkeley County in May.

Dennis James Miller, a 43-year-old Moorefield man, was indicted on one count of Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Fentanyl,” one count of “Distribution of Methamphetamine,” two counts of “Distribution of Heroin,” and one count of “Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.” Prosecutors allege that Miller distributed more than 40 grams of fentanyl in Jefferson County, distributed methamphetamine in Grant and Berkeley Counties in May, and distributed heroin in Grant County in April and May.

Michael Dean Smith, a 49-year-old Petersburg man, was indicted on one count of “Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Fentanyl” and one count of “Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.” He allegedly distributed more than 40 grams of fentanyl in Jefferson County and distributed meth in Berkeley County.

Jared Judy, a 29-year-old Petersburg man, was indicted on one count of “Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Fentanyl” and one count of “Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.” He's accused of distributing more than 40 grams of fentanyl in Jefferson County, like all the suspects, and distributing meth in Berkeley County.

All are accused of distributing fentanyl, which is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In the five years from 2011 to 2016, the number of deaths linked to fentanyl grew by more than 1,000 percent, from fewer than 1,700 to more than 18,000, making it quickly become the deadliest drug in the U.S.

They're each believed to be responsible for distributing more than 40 grams of fentanyl. The DEA reports that the lethal dose of fentanyl is about 2,000 micrograms. That means that the amount of fentanyl this group is alleged to have distributed could potentially kill 20,000 people.

Each of the 5 suspects faces at least 5 years in prison and up to 40 years, as well as a fine of up to $5 million for the conspiracy counts. Outen and Voss also face between 5 and 40 years for the aiding and abetting charge. Miller, Smith, and Judy face up to 20 years and a possible $1 million fine for the distribution counts.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy D. Helman is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The West Virginia State Police and the Charles Town Police Department investigated.