Thursday, July 29, 2021

Martinsburg man admits to role in drug trafficking ring

 MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Sanford Fayton Venable, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, has admitted to his involvement in a drug conspiracy that spanned several states, Acting U.S. Attorney Randolph J. Bernard announced.

Venable, 51, pleaded guilty today to one count of “Distribution of Forty Grams or More of a Heroin and Fentanyl Mixture.” Venable admitted to selling more than 40 grams of a heroin and fentanyl mixture in November 2019 in Berkeley County. In a separate case, Venable pleaded guilty to one count of “Distribution of 28 grams or More of Cocaine Base.” Venable admitted to selling more than 28 grams of cocaine base, also known as “crack,” in August 2019 in Berkeley County.

Venable faces at least five years and up to 40 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000,000 for each count. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

This case is the result of investigations supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) under the Attorney General-led Synthetic Opioid Surge (SOS)/Special Operations Division (SOD) Project Clean Sweep.  This initiative seeks to reduce the supply of synthetic opioids in “hot spot” areas previously identified by the Attorney General of the United States, thereby reducing drug overdoses and drug overdose deaths, and identify wholesale distribution networks and sources of supply operating nationally and internationally. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Omps-Botteicher and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Lydia Lehman, also with the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, are prosecuting the cases on behalf of the government. The FBI; Homeland Security Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; and the Eastern Panhandle Drug Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, investigated. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble presided.

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