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UPDATE | Two Huntington men sentenced in Postal Service drug scheme

(WSAZ)
Published: Aug. 12, 2019 at 10:17 PM EDT
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UPDATE 11/19/19 @ 2:05 p.m.

Two Huntington men who participated in a drug delivery scheme using the United States Postal Service have been sentenced, according to United States Attorney Mike Stuart.

The crime took place over three-year period when marijuana was shipped and delivered from California to the Huntington area.

James Waylon Molinaro was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison after previously pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Chris Crookshanks was sentenced to three years of supervised release. During that time, he must serve 12 weeks of intermittent confinement in jail. Crookshanks previously entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

Molinaro also previously pleaded guilty to a unrelated firearm charge when he was in possession of a .38-caliber revolver as a felon.

In the firearms charge, Molinaro is alleged to have been in a nightclub in Barboursville when he was asked to leave after an employee saw him with the gun. After he left, he fired multiple shots in the club's parking lot before leaving the scene, according to the news release. He later returned and a Barboursville police officer found him in possession of the weapon.


ORIGINAL STORY 8/12/19

A former U.S. Postal Service employee who helped deliver marijuana mailed from California to Huntington during a three-year period pleaded guilty Monday to a federal drug charge, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said.

Michael Mason Morton, 54, pleaded guilty to marijuana distribution. Federal investigators say Morton is the second former postal employee to plead guilty to such a charge.

James Waylon Molinaro pleaded guilty Aug. 1 to possession with intent to distribute marijuana based on his involvement in the conspiracy. Molinaro also pleaded guilty to prohibited possession of a firearm by a convicted felon stemming from an unrelated investigation and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 4.

A third man and former Postal Service employee, Chris Crookshanks, pleaded guilty Aug. 5 to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and is also scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 4.

In March 2018, investigators say they found two parcels containing marijuana at the Huntington Post Office that had been mailed from California. They say Morton took them in his delivery truck to a business in the 800 block of Norway Avenue where he turned them over to Molinaro, who investigators say paid the postal service employees.

A West Virginia State Police trooper stopped Molinaro’s vehicle and seized parcels containing 16 pounds of marijuana.

Investigators say others were involved in the conspiracy, which happened between 2015 and March 2018. Morton admitted that he was responsible for the delivery of up to 80 kilograms of marijuana during his participation in the conspiracy.

Morton faces up to five years in federal prison when he is sentenced Nov. 4.

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