Addiction center owner sentenced

WHEELING — Eric Drake of Weirton was sentenced to time served for illegally distributing controlled substances, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced Thursday afternoon.

Drake, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of a controlled substance in October. Drake admitted to selling suboxone in Hancock County in May 2016, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia.

Drake was also ordered to pay $100,000. Drake was co-owner of an addiction treatment center, Advance Healthcare, Inc., located at 3300 West St., Weirton.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah E. Wagner and Robert H. McWilliams, Jr. prosecuted the case on behalf of the government. The Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the WV Offices of the Insurance Commissioner Fraud Division; the WV Medicaid Fraud Control Unit; the Office of Ohio Attorney General Health Care Fraud; the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation; the Hancock-Brook-Weirton Drug Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative; the Greater Harrison County Drug Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative; the West Virginia State Police; the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office; and the Weirton Police Department investigated.

According to the release, the case was the result of investigations supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force under the Attorney General-led Synthetic Opioid Surge and Special Operations Division Project Clean Sweep. The 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.

Senior U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley presided over Thursday’s sentencing.