Former Virginia Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Drug Conspiracy and Burglary Charges
ABINGDON, VA—The former police chief of the Pennington Gap, Virginia Police Department pleaded guilty this morning to felony charges related to his involvement in the distribution of prescription pain killers and the burglary of a pharmacy. William Bryan Young, 39, of Duffield, Virginia, pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute oxycodone and one count of burglary of a pharmacy, related to the burglary of the Rite-Aid pharmacy in Pennington Gap on September 28, 2012. Young’s co-defendants, Kevin Andrew Young, 35, of Duffield, Virginia; and Chris Miles, 35, also of Duffield, entered guilty pleas to one count of burglary of a pharmacy. “William Bryan Young abused his police authority and repeatedly broke the law he was sworn to uphold,” United States Attorney Timothy J Heaphy said today.
“By arranging a commercial burglary and engaging in numerous illegal drug transactions, Mr Young tarnished the badge he wore and violated the trust of the people of Pennington Gap. This case demonstrates our commitment to enforce the law and hold individuals accountable, regardless of rank, position, or status.” “When a police officer violates the trust that our citizens have placed in its law enforcement, that is something we will not tolerate. I hope this sends a clear message to those who would engage in this wanton misconduct that there will be a penalty paid,” said Richard Marianos, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Washington Field Division. According to evidence presented at the guilty plea hearings, in the spring of 2012, the ATF began investigating William Bryan Young’s associations with known drug distributors in Lee County, Virginia.
Their investigation, aided by other state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies, determined that William Bryan Young was a long-time user of controlled substances, had distributed controlled substances while employed as the police chief, and had orchestrated the burglary of the Rite Aid pharmacy in Pennington Gap to obtain prescription pain killers. Specifically, the investigation determined that on September 28, 2012, William Bryan Young sent all other Pennington Gap police department personnel home to ensure that he would be the only police officer working the night shift. At approximately 2:50 AM, a burglary of the Rite-Aid pharmacy in Pennington Gap occurred. Just prior to the burglary, William Bryan Young, who was on-duty at the time, contacted officers with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to determine their positions relative to the location of the pharmacy.
After determining that there were no law enforcement officers in close proximity to the pharmacy, William Bryan Young contacted Kevin Young, Jimmy Johnson, and Chris Miles to tell them it was clear for them to break into the Rite-Aid pharmacy. Kevin Young drove himself, Johnson, and Miles to the Rite-Aid. Miles broke into the Rite-Aid pharmacy through the drive-thru window and stole approximately 5,000 oxycodone pills. William Bryan Young later received stolen pills from the pharmacy robbery.
On October 18, 2012, William Bryan Young, in his police department issued uniform, sold 20 oxycodone pills to a confidential informant cooperating with the ATF in their investigation. Shortly thereafter, William Bryan Young was arrested by agents with the ATF at the Lee County Courthouse in Jonesville, Virginia. William Bryan Young admitted to being an illegal user of controlled substances for a number of years and admitted to distributing 20 Percocet pills earlier that day. William Bryan Young also admitted to distributing 20 Percocet pills the previous day and to distributing six Percocet pills the previous weekend.
A search of William Bryan Young’s police cruiser located the pre-recorded United States currency used by the confidential informant to purchase 20 Percocet pills earlier that day. Agents also located 13 Percocet pills and one oxycodone pill in the police cruiser. On October 18, 2012, a search warrant was executed at William Bryan Young’s residence located in Duffield by federal agents, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Virginia State Police. Law enforcement officers found 548 Percocet pills and firearms in the residence.
In addition, agents located empty evidence bags from the Pennington Gap police department in William Bryan Young’s personal vehicle that appeared to have previously contained controlled substances. William Bryan Young faces a potential maximum sentence of up to 40 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $1.25 million Kevin Young faces a potential maximum sentence of up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a potential fine of up to $250,000. Chris Miles faces a potential maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $250,000. The investigation of the case was conducted by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force, ATF, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, and United States Marshals Service.
Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Lee is prosecuting the case for the United States.
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