PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - All the defendants involved a Parkersburg drug ring have now pleaded guilty.
We've been following the bust since it first happened in November 2017. Law enforcement agencies worked together to bring down significant heroin distribution network operating in and around Parkersburg.
Three of the nearly dozen people involved have been sentenced.
They are Jennifer Benson, Bernard Spann and Dennis Carter.
The first two are from Parkersburg, while the last man is from Detroit.
Benson is sentenced to nearly six years in prison. Spann is sentenced to five years. Carter is sentenced to 15 and a half years behind bars.
All were found guilty on heroin charges.
Eight other codefendants will be sentenced in August.
UPDATE: 02/14/2018 5:45 P.M.
11 people pleaded guilty to federal charges in this case. They included Dennis Carter, Joseph Reeder-Shaw, Jennifer Benson, Debra Martin, Rachel Kuhn, Kennedy Walker, Jonathon Brown, Heather Wells, Bernard Spann, Ralph White, and Sir Williams.
9 of the 11 face 5-40 years in prison. Wells and Walker face up to 20 years in prison.
Parkersburg Police Chief Joseph Martin says he hopes investigations like this one could be a warning to drug dealers looking to come to the area.
"It serves as a deterrent to anybody from Detroit or any other feeder city into Wood County to stay away or not to come here to do business if they want to come here to do business make sure it's legitimate and not illegal we're doing our part from the law enforcement side to identify these individuals and arrest them," Martin said.
The other 10 are facing state charges. Their cases are pending.
UPDATE: 02/14/2018 12:30 P.M.
Federal authorities say five people implicated in heroin trafficking have pleaded guilty to charges in West Virginia.
According to prosecutors, Ralph White, Jennifer Benson, Rachel Kuhn, all 36 years old from Parkersburg, and 28-year-old Dennis Carter, of Detroit, admitted to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin in the Parkersburg area.
Authorities say 25-year-old Heather Wells, of Parkersburg, pleaded guilty to heroin distribution.
White, Benson, Kuhn and Carter face at least five in federal prison at sentencing May 7.
Five other co-defendants pleaded guilty previously to conspiracy charges in the federal, state and local investigation.
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UPDATE: 11/20/2017, 6:37 P.M.
Two of the 21 suspects arrested on heroin charges have now been released on bond.
Jennifer Louise Benson, 35, of Parkersburg was released on a Personal Recognizance bond.
Melissa Maria Stevens, 39, of Williamstown was released on a $10,000 bond.
UPDATE: 11/19/17 4:05 P.M.
Parkersburg Police say the remaining suspect is now in custody.
Teresa L. Allender was arrested in Parkersburg around 1 a.m. Sunday morning. She's being held at the North Central Regional Jail on a $150,000 bond.
UPDATE: 11/18/17 11:45 P.M.
According to a press release from the Parkersburg Police Department, Bernard Tonyo Spann and Robert Joe Cross were arrested without incident on Saturday.
Spann was taken to the North Central Regional Jail to await his appearance in Federal Court.
Cross was taken to Wood County Magistrate Court for his arraignment. Magistrate Joe Kuhl set his bond at $150,000. Cross failed to make bond and remains incarcerated.
Teresa L. Allender remains at large at this time. Anyone who knows her where location is asked to contact law enforcement.
ORIGINAL STORY: 11/17/17 4:37 P.M.
Eighteen people are in custody on heroin charges after a yearlong trafficking investigation, and authorities are continuing to look for three others.
The Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force and FBI agents began rounding up suspects at 6 a.m. Friday.
Fifteen arrests were made today, authorities said.
Three other suspects who aren't being identified by authorities are already in custody on other charges. They're being held at the North Central Regional Jail or the Huttonsville Correctional Center.
Authorities say they are still looking for three Parkersburg residents: Bernard Tonyo Spann, 33; Robert Joe Cross, 34; and Teresa Allender, 56. They’re wanted for conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.
According to an email news release from Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin, seven of the 15 individuals taken into custody were arrested on federal indictments for conspiracy to deliver controlled substances.
Eight other suspects were arrested on state felony charges of conspiracy to deliver heroin and one count of delivery of heroin.
The 15 suspects arrested today are from Parkersburg, Vienna, Williamstown, Marietta and Warren, Mich.
Martin says evidence collected in the investigation is still being processed and additional information will be released at a later date.
Follow are the suspects facing a federal charge of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance: Dennis Deangelo Carter, 27, Warren, Mich.; Joseph Denard Reeder-Shaw, 32, Parkersburg; Jennifer Louise Benson, 35, Parkersburg; Debra Lynn Martin, 34, Parkersburg; Rachel Naomi Kuhn, 35, Parkersburg; Kennedy Michele Walker, 22, Vienna; and Jonathon E. Brown, 36, Parkersburg.
Arrested on a state charge of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance were: Kristie Jo Sellers, 32, Parkersburg; Mellissa Ann VanFossen, 33, Parkersburg; Gabrielle Marie Bradshaw-Toler, 23, Vienna; Clarence Edward Toler, 35, Vienna; Melissa Maria Stevens, 39, Williamstown; Lindsey Mae Tornes, 27, Marietta; Torie Melissa Clegg, 28, Vienna; and Deonte E. Lindsey, 31, Parkersburg.