Final 4 Project Parkersburg drug defendants plead guilty

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - The final four people charged in the historic Project Parkersburg drug investigation have entered guilty pleas in U.S. District Court in Charleston and are awaiting sentencing, authorities said.

Aurelius Edmonds 37, of Vienna; Terrence McGuirk, 50 of Parkersburg; Antoine Terry, 37, of Parkersburg; and Amanda Atkinson, 43, of Parkersburg, were among 29 people charged in federal and state courts after authorities announced the results of the investigation in October 2018.

Edmonds and McGuirk could be sentenced to 10 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to to conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.

Terry faces five to 40 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine, while Atkinson faces four years in prison after pleading guilty to to using a cellular telephone to facilitate drug-trafficking offenses.

All four are scheduled to be sentenced on June 10.

“An enormous amount of deadly drugs were seized as a result of Project Parkersburg,” United States Attorney Mike Stuart in a news release. “A drug trafficking organization has been dismantled and all of the federal defendants now stand convicted. Project Parkersburg significantly reduced the availability of meth in Parkersburg and the surrounding area and, no doubt, saved the lives of many, many potential victims.”

According to the news release, Edmonds, McGuirk, and Terry admitted that they agreed to buy meth and cocaine from a source in Phoenix, Arizona in August 2018. Edmonds went there to buy the drugs and make arrangements with two other men, Todd Land and Troy Pastorino, to ship them to Dayton, Ohio, where he, Terry and McGuirk would take possession of the shipment.

However, police learned of the deal and intercepted the shipment in a traffic stop of Pastorino in Dayton, Ohio on Sept. 19, 2018. Edmonds, Terry and Land were arrested at a night club where they were awaiting word from Pastorino that the shipment was ready for pickup, and McGuirk was arrested in a nearby hotel room.

The shipment contained 121 pounds of ICE meth and six kilograms of cocaine, and authorities said McGuirk admitted that he intended to distribute his share of the meth in the Parkersburg area.

Edmonds and Terry admitted that they intended to distribute the cocaine in Ohio and return to Parkersburg with the proceeds.

Atkinson admitted that on Sept. 18, 2018, Edmonds called her from Dayton and directed her to get drugs from a stash house on Liberty Street in Parkersburg and deliver them to McGuirk. Police observed her travel from Liberty Street to meet McGuirk at a convenience store in Parkersburg, and on Sept. 20, 2018, federal agents and officers with the Parkersburg Police Department executed a search warrant at the Liberty Street residence and seized approximately 225 grams of heroin and 478 grams of fentanyl.