Belpre man pleads guilty to fentanyl crime

WTAP News @ 6
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 5:44 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - A Belpre man has pleaded guilty Tuesday, January 17 to a fentanyl crime, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Timothy Edwin Payne Jr., 41, of Belpre, Ohio, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of a fentanyl analog.

On April 4, 2022, Payne arranged for a package containing approximately one kilogram of a fentanyl analog to be shipped through the mail from California to an apartment in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Payne paid the apartment’s resident more than $1,000 to receive and hold the package for Payne.

Law enforcement officers intercepted the package before it arrived at the apartment, and replaced the fentanyl with a fake substance and a tracking device before the package was delivered to the apartment.

Payne tracked the package’s delivery using his mobile phone and went to the apartment when the package arrived there on April 8, 2022. When Payne opened the package, law enforcement officers knocked on the apartment door. Payne attempted to flee but was arrested.

Payne is scheduled to be sentenced on May 9, 2023, and faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and up to life in prison, 10 years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a $20 million fine.