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Charleston man admits selling heroin to police informant

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A 19-year-old Charleston man is facing up to 20 years in federal prison after admitting to dealing heroin, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.

Brandon Christopher Solomon, charged with three counts in an indictment returned in October, has admitted he sold heroin to a police informant in exchange for cash. Sentencing will be in March.

Goodwin said the case is being prosecuted as part of the Charleston area's Drug Market Intervention initiative, a strategic problem-solving initiative aimed at closing down drug markets that breed crimes of violence and disorder. It was launched in February 2012 by Goodwin and Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster, in collaboration with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies as well as leaders representing several West Side community development organizations. A continuation of the DMI initiative was announced earlier this month in Charleston.

In recent months Charleston police and other law enforcement agencies have conducted undercover operations and completed investigations culminating in federal charges being filed against 13 offenders identified in the initiative. Solomon had been designated a member of that DMI A-list, which comprises the most serious offenders identified in the initiative.

The DMI strategy also included a recent staged community intervention at the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church on Charleston's West Side, which offered a rare second chance for five low-level, non-violent offenders to avoid prosecution if they adhere to a strict set of guidelines set by law enforcement. The call-in meeting was attended by offenders' relatives, concerned citizens, and faith-based leaders from the West Side community. It was coordinated and attended by federal, state and local law enforcement officials

Drug Market Intervention, first implemented in High Point, N.C., and replicated with success in several other cities including Huntington.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Haley Bunn is handling the prosecution.