April 9 trial date set for area men in heroin case

WHEELING – Two Wellsburg men accused of causing a Follansbee man’s death by allegedly giving him heroin were arraigned Friday by federal Magistrate Judge James Seibert.

Fawn Thomas, administrative officer at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Curtis J. Adams, 28, was released on a personal recognizance bond, and Justin A. Withers, 28, still is being held in custody at an undisclosed location. Before the arraignment hearing, Withers already had been in custody on a unrelated charge.

A trial date of April 9 has been set before Judge Frederick Stamp.

The men face up to life in prison if convicted of causing the 22-year-old man’s death. The case became federal when the men allegedly traveled to Steubenville to purchase the heroin and then back to Brooke County, where it was distributed to the victim. The interstate travel charge would add another five years in prison.

According to a copy of the indictment, Adams and Withers allegedly gave the victim heroin in exchange for gold and jewelry on March 22, 2011. U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said the victim’s name would be released at a later date.

No autopsy was performed on the victim’s body, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Vogrin, who is prosecuting the case, said there was sufficient blood evidence collected at the hospital and evidence from the medical examiner to go forward with the charges.

The case was investigated by the Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug Task Force and Follansbee and Wellsburg police.