January 19, 2011
Contact: SA Susan Wolf
Phone Number: (202) 305-8500
Major Black Tar Heroin Supplier Sentenced To Over 24 Years In Prison
Huntington Overdose Deaths Linked To Drug Source
HUNTINGTON, WV. - As a result of a long term investigation by the Drug Enforcement (DEA) and the Huntington Police Department, a Mexican national was sentenced today to over 24 years in prison for his role in the distribution of black tar heroin. The distribution ring has been linked to several drug overdoses in the Huntington, West Virginia, area. Joel Adolfo Borjas-Hernandez, 25, previously entered a guilty plea in October 2010, admitting to conspiring with others to distribute at least one kilogram of heroin. At sentencing, the court determined that Borjas-Hernandez and his drug trafficking organization distributed heroin that resulted in several overdose deaths. As a result, Borjas-Hernandez received a significant sentence enhancement under the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
“Huntington has suffered a number of tragic deaths from heroin overdoses. We can’t bring back the lives that have been lost, but we will do everything in our power to prevent it from happening again,” said United States Attorney Booth Goodwin. “Putting this drug dealer behind bars is a major step in that direction. We are sending a message loud and clear to drug dealers from Mexico and everywhere else that if you come to Huntington, West Virginia, to peddle your poison, there will be consequences.”
According to Court documents from September 2007, law enforcement and medical personnel in Huntington responded to a series of overdose deaths resulting from the ingestion of black tar heroin. Investigators from the Huntington Police Department, Cabell County Sheriff’s Office and DEA launched a long-term investigation resulting in the convictions of approximately 20 individuals in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The investigation revealed that people from the Huntington area were travelling to Columbus, Ohio, to obtain Mexican black tar heroin from an individual known only as ‘Carlos’. Most of those people obtained the heroin either from Columbus dealers supplied by Carlos’ organization, or from runners working for Carlos. Eventually, investigators were able to make purchases of black tar heroin from the organization using informants and undercover investigators. Several witnesses identified Carlos as Borjas-Hernandez.
On June 13, 2009, an officer with the Columbus Police Department stopped Borjas-Hernandez for a minor traffic offense. Borjas-Hernandez was arrested on an illegal immigration charge and held in Columbus pending deportation proceedings. During this time, an inmate at the facility notified authorities that Borjas-Hernandez was the man known as ‘Carlos’.
At his plea hearing, Borjas-Hernandez told United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers that throughout his involvement in the organization, he and another man received 15 one ounce bags of heroin at a time from two men in Columbus. Borjas-Hernandez further stated that the two then distributed the heroin to street-level dealers in and around Columbus, Ohio. He further acknowledged that some of those dealers distributed the heroin to individuals from Huntington where the heroin was resold and used.