~ Andrew Skeen of Wise, Virginia convicted of multiple felonies for distribution of oxycodone and possession of a powerful AR-15 rifle while distributing controlled substances ~
WISE, Va. – Andrew Litton Skeen, 41, of Wise, Virginia, was convicted this week of distribution of oxycodone and possession of a firearm while distributing a Schedule II controlled substance. Following a six-day jury trial that concluded on May 9, the jury recommended a sentence of 15 years and a fine of $20,000. A date for formal sentencing will be scheduled on May 19, 2016. The case was successfully co-prosecuted by the offices of Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring and Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp following an investigation by the Virginia State Police and the Southwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force.
“Combating opiate addiction continues to be a major focus of my office, as we are targeting this problem with a multifaceted strategy that includes prosecutions and enforcement, as well as prevention and education,” said Attorney General Herring. “We are dedicated to working with our local, state, and federal partners to combat opiate addiction and prosecute those who endanger our communities by illegally distributing powerful narcotics. This investigation is an example of successful collaborations and my Office’s dedication to keep these dangerous drugs, and those who distribute them, off the streets.”
Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp echoed his appreciation of law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation and the collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office Major Crimes and Emerging Threats Section in connection with this case. “Prescription drugs, including oxycodone, continue to be a major problem in southwest Virginia. Powerful narcotics are highly addictive and can lead to criminal activity and distribution, as evidenced by this case. Our office will continue to work closely with all law enforcement agencies to cut off the illegal supply lines of oxycodone and other prescription narcotics. We will continue to aggressively prosecute those who traffic prescription drugs and contribute to addiction in our community,” stated Slemp.
According to evidence presented at trial, Skeen distributed ten 30-milligram oxycodone pills on December 6, 2013 to an undercover informant working with the Southwest Virginia Regional Narcotics Task Force. Skeen had an AR-15 in his vehicle with him when the transaction occurred. According to witness testimony at trial, Skeen had a history of distribution of oxycodone in Wise County and was a self-professed narcotics supplier. Skeen reportedly told one witness, “If you’ve bought Roxis [oxycodone] in Wise County, you probably got them from me.” Skeen identified his sources of oxycodone as an online website and numerous out-of-state sources.
Evidence admitted at trial also demonstrated that Skeen had been prescribed 1,080 pills of 30-milligram oxycodone during the eight months prior to this incident, which totals a conservative street value of approximately $32,000. Skeen had just filled a prescription for 120 pills of 30-milligram oxycodone, the same type as distributed to the confidential informant, on the same day that the undercover transaction occurred. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Skeen’s residence on January 6, 2014, and seized two AR-15 firearms, one of which met the description of the weapon possessed by Skeen during the undercover transaction.
Agencies involved in this investigation included the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations Drug Enforcement Section and the Southwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force. Virginia Assistant Attorney General Suzanne Kerney-Quillen, who is assigned to the Attorney General’s Major Crimes and Emerging Threats Section and also serves as Special Counsel to the 30th Judicial Circuit Multi-Jurisdiction Grand Jury, and Wise County/City of Norton Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole M. Price represented the Commonwealth in this prosecution.