UPDATE 2/28/14 @ 1:20 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Federal prosecutors are seeking a plea hearing for the brother of West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in a drug distribution case.
Assistant U.S. Prosecutor C. Haley Bunn filed the motion Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston in the case involving 50-year-old Carl Tomblin of Chapmanville.
Bunn asked the court to schedule a hearing at which Carl Tomblin is expected to plead guilty to a federal information charging him with illegally distributing oxymorphone, a prescription painkiller, in December.
The information was filed Wednesday. It typically signals the defendant is cooperating with the investigation.
No hearing date was immediately set.
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Carl Tomblin, 50, of Chapmanville, was charged Wednesday with illegally distributing prescription painkillers.
According to the information filed in federal court, Tomblin distributed oxymorphone, a powerful painkiller often sold under the brand name Opana.
The alleged crime happened in December 2013 near Chapmanville in Logan County.
The prosecution is part of an ongoing effort by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs, according to the release.
Governor Tomblin released a statement shortly after the information was filed.
The governor says he's saddened and disappointed, but loves his brother.
“Today is a very difficult day for me and my family. I am saddened by my brother’s actions, and I am disappointed in him—but I love him. My brother must be held accountable for his actions. Like everyone dealing with drug addiction, my brother needs help. I’ve said many times that drug addiction can affect any family and it has affected mine. I thank you for your prayers during this challenging time,” Governor Tomblin said in a statement.
West Virginia State Police and the U.S. 119 Task Force assisted with the federal investigation.
"It is absolutely the number one biggest problem we face here in southern West Virginia," said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says it is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers in communities across the Southern District.