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Man admits role in drug distribution conspiracy

WHEELING — A Steubenville resident has admitted to having a role in a crack cocaine, heroin and fentanyl distribution operation, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Bill Powell.

Michael Bernard Barnett, 44, of Steubenville, also known as “Gator,” pled guilty to one count of distribution of cocaine base. Barnett admitted to selling cocaine base, also known as “crack,” in January 2019 in Brooke County.

Barnett faces up to 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $1 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danae DeMasi-Lemon and Robert H. McWilliams Jr. are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Drug Enforcement Administration; the Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force; the West Virginia State Police; the Marshall County Drug & Violent Crimes task Force; The Ohio Valley Drug & Violent Crimes task Force; the Jefferson County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force; the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office; the Brooke County Sheriff’s Office; the Weirton Police Department; and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Police investigated.

The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program, which supplies federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. Mazzone presided.

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