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CA to WV: Federal Drug Trafficking Arrests Yield Guilty Pleas 

minimum sentencing
A cross-country drug trafficking trip that began in California ended in West Virginia, in the parking lot of a hotel, and with multiple arrests after an investigation by the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team, the United States Postal Inspection Service, DHS Homeland Security Investigations, and the Charleston Police Department. 

Kelly Newcomb, 56, pled guilty to “interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime” for driving across the country with 10 pounds of crystal meth hidden in her spare tire. She says that she went to pick up her codefendant in California and that she was unaware that methamphetamine was hidden in her car until later in the trip.   

According to Newcomb, when she arrived at the hotel in West Virginia and rented a room, she followed the instructions of another codefendant to leave the car unattended and unlocked in the parking lot. It was at this point that an undercover law enforcement agent came to the hotel and took the drugs out of the car, working on information given to him by a person cooperating with law enforcement.  

The maximum penalty for Newcomb’s charge is five years in federal prison. She will be sentenced on October 6 of this year.   

Newcomb is not the only person facing charges for trafficking in this investigation. A woman from Los Angeles, California, Danielle Dessaray Estrada, 21, also pled guilty to charges of transporting methamphetamine. She, too, faces up to five years in a federal prison as a result of the charges.  

A total of 14 defendants face criminal charges as a result of this investigation, one of many dedicated to shutting down the trafficking of all addictive substances, including methamphetamine. It is one way that government agencies are attempting to manage the problem of drug abuse and addiction that has become endemic in our country. But is it enough?

Drug of Choice

Removing batches of different drugs from the black market may, for a time, create a situation in which there is not enough supply to meet the demand. It can also raise the prices of what is available to consumers on the street, which in turn, may make it more difficult for many to get the amount of their drug of choice that they feel is necessary to maintain their addiction somewhat comfortably.  

But for most people, this is just a bump in the road. It is not difficult to turn to another resource, another dealer of the same substance, or to find someone who sells something that provides a similar effect. The drug interdiction that take place here on our soil and long before the drugs reach our country is helpful in that it ensures that we are not flooded with these addictive substances. However, it is not the whole answer to the question of ongoing addiction.

The Challenge of Healing through Treatment

Ultimately, even the best efforts of government agencies, the medical community, nonprofits, and others focused on helping people living with addiction to get help will do nothing if the individual does not choose to get treatment. The only way to heal from addiction, a medical disorder, is to take an active role in the medical and therapeutic care designed to help people stop using all illicit substances safely and begin living a drug-free life. Though loved ones, doctors, and even the court can insist if someone has a problem with drugs and treatment is necessary, it is not until the individual recognizes that fact and agrees to get help that true healing can begin.

It is a challenge that faces not only organizations dedicated to addressing the problem of addiction at federal, state, and local levels but also a challenge to the individuals living in communities that are struggling as a result of addiction. Those who have the experience or skills to assist families in crisis due to addiction can reach out to people in need, share their stories, and help people to better understand the nature of addiction and why treatment is essential.  

If someone you love is living with addiction, you can help your loved one to connect with treatment services that will facilitate the treatment process. It is, after all, an act of love and support to help someone who is struggling to find the help that will bring them peace. Does someone you care about need you to speak up and take action to assist them in connecting with treatment today? 

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Laguna Treatment Center is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thous...