Ruckersville man pleads to drug, firearm charges in federal court
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A man from Greene County has pleaded to drug and firearm charges in a case connected to a drug-overdose death.
According to a release, 41-year-old Michael Watkins Hayer of Ruckersville was in federal court on Friday.
He waived his right to be indicted and pleaded to two charges associated with the distribution of fentanyl and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Law enforcement officials say Hayer was involved in dealing heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl even while he was behind bars.
“Fentanyl is everywhere. Simply put, it is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered. In Virginia, the number of people dying from drug overdoses is at a record high. If we want to prevent fentanyl-related overdose deaths, we must take every opportunity to educate our communities about how dangerous it is. Now more than ever, it is critical to hold accountable those who deal fatal doses thereby contributing to fentanyl’s staggering body count,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh. “I am grateful for the resolve of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, who sought to bring justice to those affected by this tragedy.”
“With this guilty plea, Mr. Hayer has finally accepted responsibility for his actions,” said FBI Richmond Acting Special Agent in Charge David C. Lewis. “Fentanyl has the potential to kill just by contact and it is far too dangerous to be sold on the street. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and help prosecute those who distribute this dangerous substance.”
Court documents show Hayer began to sell fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine in Greene and Albemarle counties in 2019 while also routinely traveling to North Carolina to buy drugs by the “brick” for resale.
The release says Hayer used the term “brick” to refer to a package of 50 individual doses of fentanyl.
After an incident in which a customer overdosed in front of him, Hayer start to carry Narcan with him whenever he was selling drugs.
On Feb. 18, 2022, Hayer sold half of a brick of fentanyl to a person who took it and later died of an overdose.
Hayer attempted to leave Greene County in order to avoid suspicion following the death, but he was stopped by the Virginia State Police while speeding in Greene County in April.
During that stop, the trooper searched Hayer’s vehicle and found 95 grams of methamphetamine, 50 grams of fentanyl, three firearms, and multiple rounds of ammunition.
Hayer was being held at the Central Virginia Regional Jail between April and June, during which time he continued to sell drugs by recruiting a female relative and an ex-girlfriend.
He taught them how to traffick drugs, specifically where to go in North Carolina to meet with drug supplies and where and to whom to sell drugs in Greene County.
Hayer also warned both women about how dangerous fentanyl is, telling them not to touch the drug without wearing gloves and to never use it themselves.
This case was investigated by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.