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Press Release

Upshur County man admits to his role in a methamphetamine distribution operation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of West Virginia

ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA – A French Creek, West Virginia man has admitted today to distributing methamphetamines and a firearms charge, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced. 

Thunderbolt Dean Whaley, age 40, pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Distribute More than 50 grams of Methamphetamine,” and one count of “Carrying a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime.” He admitted to conspiring with others in distributing methamphetamines in Upshur County and elsewhere from March 2016 to September 2017. Whaley also admitted to carrying a .38 special revolver during a drug crime in Lewis County in July 2017. 

Whaley face ups to life incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000,000 for the conspiracy count and faces up to five years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for the firearms count. 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. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D. Warner is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives, The Mountain Region Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, the Greater Harrison Drug &Violent Crime Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, the West Virginia State Police, Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, the Buckhannon Police Department, and the Weston Police Department investigated. 

The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi presided. 

Updated January 16, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses