West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey this week touted the office’s first conviction as result of a partnership with U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II in northern West Virginia.
This week’s guilty verdict convicted Francisco Gaspar Sanchez, 56, of Kearneysville. It found Sanchez guilty of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Morrisey praised the conviction calling it the first fruit of a crucial partnership to reduce drug trafficking and abuse in northern West Virginia.
“I’m very pleased with this week’s conviction,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Drug addiction and abuse is rampant statewide. Defeating the epidemic will take everyone working together and this is what can happen when government agencies partner for the common good.”
Thursday’s jury verdict concluded a two-day trial in Martinsburg. Sanchez faces up to 20 years in prison and $1 million fine, although his actual sentence will depend upon federal guidelines that measure the seriousness of his offenses and any prior criminal history.
Evidence indicated Sanchez conspired with another individual to sell crystal methamphetamine in Jefferson County. Specifically, Sanchez was discovered in possession of methamphetamine in April 2014.
West Virginia Assistant Attorney General Lara Omps-Botteicher led Sanchez’s prosecution in her dual role as a special assistant U.S. attorney. She is one of two lawyers from Morrisey’s office who are special assistant U.S. attorneys.
In their federal capacity, these attorneys will handle drug cases with a special emphasis on the prosecution of heroin trafficking organizations.
The partnership also builds upon existing substance abuse prevention and education initiatives targeting West Virginia youth.