Raleigh County Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Federal Gun and Drug Crimes

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A syringe with ampoules, white powder, a five-dollar bill with bullets and a gun lying on a black glass background. Dangerous bad habits, addiction to drugs and gambling. Crime because of drugs.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Raleigh County man was sentenced today to 10 years in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, for possession of 100 grams or more of heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

According to court documents, Richard James Pfost, 39, of Beaver, was the front seat passenger in a vehicle traveling in Belle when deputies with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle. Deputies observed marijuana in the vehicle and conducted a search of the vehicle. In the front passenger side of the vehicle, where Pfost was seated, deputies located approximately 112 grams of heroin, 88 grams of methamphetamine, 11 grams of cocaine, a loaded Smith and Wesson M&P Shield 9mm pistol, and a loaded Ruger EC9 9mm pistol. Pfost also had $420 in his possession, which he admitted were drug distribution proceeds. Pfost also admitted that he intended to distribute the heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine for money and that the firearms in his possession were to protect himself, the drugs he possessed, and the drug proceeds.

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“Drug trafficking is a significant driver of violence in our communities, particularly in Raleigh and Kanawha Counties,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “This substantial sentence demonstrates the effectiveness of our partnerships with ATF and other federal, state and local law enforcement in removing drug dealers with guns from our streets.”

“Drug dealers with guns are a threat to the safety of our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge R. Shawn Morrow of the Louisville Field Division. “ATF, along with our local law enforcement partners, will aggressively investigate, arrest and pursue prosecution of these offenders. Today’s sentencing is an example of that effort and highlights the ongoing partnership and commitment between ATF and law enforcement in Raleigh and Kanawha Counties to make our communities safer for everyone.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department, the Beckley Police Department, the Oak Hill Police Department and the Beckley/Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crime Unit investigated the case.

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United States District Judge Irene C. Berger imposed the sentence.  Assistant United States Attorney Courtney L. Cremeans prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:21-cr-00094.