Feds: 52 pleas entered in W.Va. gun, drug sweep

FAIRMONT (AP) — Fifty-two people have pleaded guilty to weapons and drug-trafficking charges in what U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld calls one of the largest investigations ever conducted in West Virginia’s Northern District.

One person pleaded guilty in state court, while all the others appeared in federal court. All the suspects had been indicted in May.

Most of their sentencings will occur over the next several months.

Ihlenfeld said Monday that a 53rd defendant has died since the indictments, so that case was dismissed.

Through “Operation Blue Haze,” authorities seized 21 guns, ammunition, a bulletproof vest and more than $100,000 worth of drugs, including cocaine, crack, marijuana and prescription pills.

Local, state and federal investigators targeted dealers at every level in Marion County.

Fairmont Police Chief Kelley Moran says his city’s safer now.

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