Three plea guilty to federal crimes

ELKINS — Three more people pleaded guilty Friday in federal court for their roles in two large cases involving stolen firearms and distribution of methamphetamine.

Bobby Ray Johnson Jr., 27, of Buckhannon, pleaded guilty to carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. He admitted to having a .40 caliber pistol during a drug trafficking crime in December 2016 in Upshur County, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Bill Powell’s office.

Johnson faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Johnson was originally named in a 19-count indictment with 12 individuals who allegedly conspired to steal about 120 firearms and sell them to purchase drugs, according to a Sept. 22, 2017 The Record Delta article.

Cassandra Tahj Riffle, also known as Cassie Hickman, 31, of Buckhannon, pleaded guilty to maintaining a drug-involved premises. She admitted to distributing and using methamphetamine in May 2017 in Upshur County.

Riffle faces up to 20 years in prison and up to a $1 million fine.

Riffle was named in a 50-count indictment with 17 people who allegedly conspired to sell methamphetamine from March 2016 to August 2017.

Aaron Matthew McClain, 37, of Volga, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of stolen firearm — aiding and abetting. He admitted to receiving, possessing, bartering or selling two firearms in Barbour County in October 2016.

McClain faces up to 10 years in prison and fine up to $250,000.

McClain was previously indicted in the same case as Johnson.

Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.

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

The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program, which supplies federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to identify and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises, according to the release.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Aloi presided.

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