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Two more convictions in Bluefield Pill Initiative

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A Mercer County man and a Baltimore man both were sentenced to prison Sept. 3 for illegal distribution of prescription drugs.

Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber sentenced the two men to prison.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced the Bluefield Pill Initiative and fighting the state's pill abuse epidemic will continue to be his office's leading priority.

Tyler Thorpe, 71, of Bluefield, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison. Thorpe previously pleaded guilty in April to distribution of a powerful prescription painkiller commonly known as Dilaudid.

Thorpe sold the drug to a person cooperating with law enforcement priorities in September 2012, according to a news release from Goodwin's office.

Robert J. Fleek Jr., 31, of Baltimore, Md., was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. He previously pleaded guilty in April to distribution of Dilaudid and buprenorphine, which is commonly known as Suboxone or Subutex. That drug is intended to help people overcome opioid addiction as part of a rehabilitation program.

The Bluefield Pill Initiative is a collaborative, multi-agency regional law enforcement effort designed to halt prescription drug trafficking in Mercer, McDowell and Wyoming counties. The initiative is led by the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, which includes the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Mercer McDowell and Wyoming County sheriff's departments and the Bluefield and Princeton Police Departments.