Three enter federal guilty pleas

ELKINS — Two Buckhannon men have admitted to their roles in a firearms theft and sale scheme, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Bill Powell’s office.

Michael Lough, 33, pled guilty to one count of possession of stolen firearm — aiding and abetting and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm. Lough is prohibited from possessing a firearm but admitted to receiving, possessing, bartering or selling 21 firearms in Upshur County in October 2016.

Benjamin Tyler Nazelrod, 27, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess stolen firearms and admitted to conspiring with others to receive, possess, barter, sell, conceal and dispose of 21 firearms in Upshur County in October 2016, according to the release.

Lough faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for each count while Nazelrod faces up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. However, under the federal sentencing guidelines, the actual sentences imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D. Warner prosecuted the cases which were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives, The Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, the Greater Harrison Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, the West Virginia State Police, Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, the Buckhannon Police Department and the Weston Police Department.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Aloi presided over the case.

In other federal court news, a Buckhannon man has admitted to his role in an oxycodone distribution operation.

Christopher Moriarty, 25, pled guilty to distribution of oxycodone. He admitted to selling oxycodone in June 2015 in Upshur County, according to a separate press release from Powell’s office.

Moriarty now faces up to 20 years incarceration and fine of up to $1 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zelda E. Wesley prosecuted the case and Aloi presided in the case which was heard in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg. 

The case was investigated by the Mon Metro Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force.

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