MARTINSBURG – Phillip Arnold Bennett, of Piedmont, has admitted to a firearms charge in federal court in Martinsburg.

MARTINSBURG – Phillip Arnold Bennett, of Piedmont, has admitted to a firearms charge in federal court in Martinsburg.
According to United States Attorney Bill Powell, Bennett,30, pled guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, admitting to illegally possessing a .380 caliber pistol in September 2017 in Mineral County.
Bennett faces up to 10 years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000.
Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Bennett is currently being held in the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg.
He was originally indicted by the federal court in November on one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, one count of distribution of methamphetamine, three counts of distribution of heroin, one count of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, two counts of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute heroin, one count of aiding and abetting distribution of heroin, one count of aiding and abetting distribution of fentanyl, one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin.
Bennett was accused of distributing heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine in Mineral County and elsewhere from September 2017 to August 2018, as well as illegally possessing the  pistol.
At the same time Bennett was indicted, Erica Lucinda Taylor, 30,  also of Piedmont, was also indicted and charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine, one count of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, two counts of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute heroin, two counts of distribution of heroin, one count of aiding and abetting distribution of fentanyl, and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin.
She also recently appeared in court in Martinsburg and pled guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the distribution of fentanyl, admitting to selling the drug in Mineral County in February 2018.
She also remains incarcerated at the Eastern Regional Jail.
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.
Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara K. Omps-Botteicher is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.
The Potomac Highlands Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, and the West Virginia State Police investigated.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble presided.