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Man faces charges in drugs-for-guns case

July 21, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A 22-year-old Washington, D.C., man was charged Tuesday in a case that involved trafficking of guns and crack cocaine in the area, police said.

Ricky Purnell, also known as "Smoke," of 508 8th St., Northeast Washington, D.C., was charged with distribution of crack cocaine and was being held in the Eastern Regional Jail Tuesday night on $500,000 bond, said Detective Steve Harris of the Charles Town Police Department.

Earlier this year, information surfaced that Purnell was involved in trafficking crack cocaine and guns in the area, Harris said.

Since February, five controlled purchases of crack cocaine have occurred in the case, Harris said.

Audio and video surveillance of the transactions were conducted, court records state.

On Tuesday, an undercover officer met with Purnell in the parking lot of Charles Town Races & Slots and Purnell gave the officer crack in exchange for guns with silencers, Harris said.

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Purnell was taken into custody and the cocaine and weapons were seized, court records allege.

Harris declined to comment Tuesday on details of the case, such as how many guns were traded in the deals and why the weapons were being sought.

An investigation is continuing, Harris said.

The case was jointly investigated by the Charles Town Police Department and the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Harris said.

The two agencies were assisted by the U.S. Marshal's office, West Virginia State Police, Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and a local drug task force, he said.

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