HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - Former Marshall University offensive lineman James Meeks wants to help drug addicts after he serves a brief sentence on a heroin charge.
The Associated Press reports that a federal judge sentenced the 34-year-old Meeks this week to one month in prison.
Meeks pleaded guilty last November to maintaining a residence for the distribution of heroin.
Defense attorney Christopher S. Morris said Meeks has turned his life around and plans to become a counselor helping drug addicts.
Meeks was accused of providing shelter to an out-of-town drug dealer to live, sell and store his heroin supply.
Meeks played for Marshall in 1998 and 1999. In 2000, he quit the team after he threw his jersey into the stands and left the field in a loss at Michigan State.
Deon Powell, 42, also known as Archie Powell, entered a guilty plea the day his trial was set to begin. Powell admitted that in June 2011, he sold $200 worth of heroin to a confidential informant working with the Huntington Police Department and the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.
A subsequent search warrant executed at the Huntington home where Powell was residing yielded 10.5 grams of crack cocaine, one gram of cocaine powder, 45.769 grams of heroin, 16 Benzodiazepine pills, and 24 Oxycodone pills.
Agents also seized $19,020 from an automobile parked inside the garage of the residence, a firearm inside the residence, and nearly $4,000 inside the residence which belonged to the defendant.
Powell faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 9.
James Meeks, 33, appeared before U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers.
On June 16, 2011, members of the Huntington Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force conducted a controlled buy of heroin from the Meeks' Huntington residence, utilizing a confidential informant.
Meeks admitted that at the time, he allowed his residence to be used by a known individual to distribute controlled substances including but not limited to heroin.
Meeks further admitted that he allowed an associate to stay at his residence for the purpose of distributing heroin and other controlled substances and knowingly made his residence available to the associate for distributing and storing controlled substances.
Following the controlled buy on June 16, 2011, law enforcement executed a search warrant on Meeks' residence. Among the items recovered from the residence included distribution amounts of heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine, and oxycodone pills. Officers also recovered cash from inside the residence and digital scales.
Meeks faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine when he is sentenced on Feb. 21, 2012.
He played football for Marshall in the late 90s.
What turned out to be a major drug bust and round-up started with neighbors' complaints.
That first complaint came only about a month ago. But, once police started looking into matters, they didn't waste any time moving in for the close.
“We were having dinner and heard a loud noise and said, 'Oh my God, they're shooting one another.' I went outside and saw the S.W.A.T. team."
And that was the beginning of the end of the suspicious activity going on next to Glenna Hensley's house.
“They brought 'em out handcuffed and set them in the driveway, and we applauded because we don’t want that in our neighborhood,” Hensley said.
It all unfolded during daylight -- about 6 p.m. Thursday along North Queens Court. It's a quiet street in Huntington's Southeast Hills neighborhood. Bethany Fizer has lived here all of her life.
“It’s shocking to think this would happen in my neighborhood,” Fizer said.
But, police say what was going on there was heavy duty -- a significant amount of crack, powder cocaine, even heroin and a whole bunch of cash.
Now, eight faces are added to the growing list, showing where trafficking drugs in Huntington will get you.
“It sends a message to them that if you come to Huntington, you're probably going to get busted,” Huntington Police Sgt. Eric Corder said.
Two of those arrested -- Deon Powell and Scott Crump, both 43 -- are from Detroit and have extensive criminal histories that include murder and rape.
Jimmy Meeks was the one who lived here. He played football for Marshall in the late 90s. Neighbors say the 33-year-old Meeks is super nice.
“I am very happy -- sad for this gentleman we thought a lot of, but happy they got the drugs and the ones selling them,” Hensley.
Three of those arrested are from Huntington, two are from eastern Kentucky and one is from Hurricane in Putnam County. All of them are in jail on a $100,000 cash bond.
This was a joint effort between the Huntington Police Special Emphasis Unit, K-9 and S.W.A.T. Team, as well as the DEA, ATF and HIDTA.
Huntington Police say the raid happened at a house in the 200-block of North Queens Court about 6 p.m.Thursday. They raided the house after receiving complaints from neighbors about drug activity
Sgt. Eric Corder also tells WSAZ.com that officers confiscated heroin, crack, powdered coke and a large amount of money during the raid. Also confiscated during the raid, pills and a handgun according to the criminal complaint..
Those arrested are:
All eight are charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. None of the eight listed the North Queens Court home as their address.
Corder says Crump and Powell, who are from Detroit, have extensive violent criminal histories that include rape and murder.
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