Drug Trafficking Investigation Yields Largest Methamphetamine Bust in West Virginia History
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Will Thompson announced today that a major drug trafficking investigation has resulted in the largest methamphetamine seizure in West Virginia history, of well over 200 pounds.
A federal grand jury has returned three indictments charging 30 individuals for their roles in the drug trafficking organization (DTO) responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl in Charleston. Another 24 individuals are charged in state criminal complaints.
During the course of “Operation Smoke and Mirrors,” law enforcement obtained more than 50 search warrants in support of the eight-month-long investigation, with several executed within the last 48 hours including this morning. Law enforcement also seized 28 pounds of cocaine, 20 pounds of fentanyl, 18 firearms and $747,000 in cash.
“The takedown of this drug trafficking organization stopped a record amount of methamphetamine, as well as other dangerous drugs, from reaching our communities and causing harm,” United State Attorney Thompson said. “This investigation demonstrates that we will use all of our resources, including new and innovative investigative techniques, against those who target our communities with this poison. Our law enforcement partners worked tirelessly to dismantle this organization and obtain these indictments, and I commend their outstanding work and dedication.”
“These arrests are an outstanding example of what federal and local law enforcement can accomplish when we work together to target the individuals who threaten the safety and stability of our neighborhoods,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “A large amount of illegal and dangerous drugs were stopped from going into our local neighborhood during the course of this investigation. The arrests today dismantled a drug trafficking network that has wreaked havoc in the Charleston area for far too long. For anyone looking to fill the void left by those arrested, I want you to know we are not going anywhere, and the FBI and our law enforcement partners are here to find, arrest and bring to justice those who terrorize our community with violence and drugs.”
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), the West Virginia State Police, the West Virginia National Guard Counter Drug program, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, the Charleston Police Department, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the Raleigh County Sheriff's Office. MDENT is composed of the Charleston Police Department, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the Nitro Police Department, the St. Albans Police Department and the South Charleston Police Department.
Charged in a three-count federal indictment are: Antonio Lamar Jeffries, 34, and Michael Allen Roberts, Jr., 40, both of St. Albans; Karl Lamont Funderburk, 37, of Hurricane, Mark Leslie Lively, 56, of Kenna; Scott Jeremy Savage, 46, of Nitro; Ryan Keith Kincaid, 46, of South Charleston; Todd Tyler Snead, 57, of Waynesboro, Virginia; and Tres Avery Davis, 34, Telisa Rene McCauley, 31, Deayria Eyshay Willis, 24, John Paul Loudermilk, 60, Timothy Allen Loudermilk, 63, Keith Royal Goode-Harper, 31, Nicole Leigh Fierbaugh, 44, Latesha Lashae Nappier, 29, Jeremy Rayshad Walker, 34, Charles Norman Pannell, 43, and Les Van Bumpus, 34, all of Charleston.
The indictment charges 14 of the defendants with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from November 2022 to March 2023 at or near Charleston. The indictment attributes 500 grams or more of methamphetamine to Jeffries, Davis, McCauly, Roberts and Snead and 50 grams or more to Funderburk. The indictment charges six of the defendants with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and six of the defendants with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, all from December 2022 to March 2023 at or near Charleston.
Charged in a separate, one-count federal indictment are: Alexandria Jasmine Estep, 21, and Robert Dewayne Miller, 35, both of Charleston; and Perry Johnson, Jr., 29, and Dashounieque Lashay Wright, 26, both of Detroit, Michigan. The indictment charges all four defendants with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from October 2022 to January 2023 at or near Charleston.
The federal grand jury previously indicted eight individuals as part of Operation Smoke and Mirrors: Jasper Wemh, 38, Justin Allen Bowen, 40, Richard Allen Bowen, 62, Kimberly Dawn Legg, 49, Larry Wayne Legg, 55, and Stanley Aaron Burkes, 62, all of Charleston; McKenzie Bowen, also known as McKenzie Myers, 24, of Belle; and Nicholas Bradford Confere, 35, of Mammoth. Justin Allen Bowen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine on February 23, 2023. Larry Wayne Legg pleaded guilty on March 6, 2023, to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. The remaining defendants are scheduled for trial on April 25, 2023.
Note: An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jeremy B. Wolfe is prosecuting the case.
The investigation was part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and is the keystone of the Department of Justice’s drug reduction strategy. OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations, transnational criminal organizations and money laundering organizations that present a significant threat to the public safety, economic, or national security of the United States.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:23-cr-31 (Jeffries et al.), 2:23-cr-33 (Estep et al.), and 2:23-cr-4 (Wemh et al.).