ABINGDON, VA-- The former police chief of Pennington Gap, Virginia Police Department pleaded guilty this morning to felony charges related to his involvement in the distribution of prescription painkillers and the burglary of a pharmacy, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
William Bryan Young, 39, of Duffield, Virginia, pleaded guilty in federal court 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.
Officials said Young had a drug habit and had ties to drug dealers
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," U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy stated today in a press release. "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."
Officials said that on Sept. 28, Young sent all other officers of the Pennington Gap police department home to ensure he would be the only police officer working the night shift, according to officials.
Around 2:50 a.m., a burglary of the Rite Aid pharmacy in Pennington Gap occurred, officials stated. Just before the burglary, Young contacted officers with the Lee County Sheriff's Office to determine their positions relative to the location of the pharmacy, authorities stated.
After determining that there were no law enforcement officials near the pharmacy, Young contacted Kevin Young, Jimmy Johnson, and Chris Miles to let them know it was okay to break into the Rite Aid pharmacy.
Miles got inside the pharmacy and stole about 5,000 oxycodone pills
William Young received stolen pills and on Oct. 18, 2012, while in uniform, William Young sold 20 oxycodone pills to a confidential informant who was cooperating with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigation, according to federal authorities.
Shortly after former Chief Young did this, he was arrested.
William Young admitted to being a drug user and drug dealer, officials stated.
A search of William Bryan Young's police cruiser located the pre-recorded U.S. 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 Young's residence resulted in the officers finding 548 Percocet pills and firearms in the residence along with other evidence.
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.
"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.
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 U.S. Marshals Service.