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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 3, 2022

Final Major Defendant Sentenced to More than 11 Years in Prison for Role in Multi-State Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization

All 17 Defendants Convicted in Large-Volume Drug Conspiracy; Murder Plot Foiled

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Leo Antoine Smith, 38, of Cross Lanes, was sentenced today to 11 years and eight months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute a quantity of methamphetamine.

Smith is the final major defendant to be sentenced in connection with an investigation that dismantled a large-volume drug trafficking organization (DTO) that operated primarily in the Charleston, Rand, and St. Albans areas of Kanawha County from March 2019 to September 2021. The DTO distributed more than 160 pounds of methamphetamine as well as quantities of fentanyl and other drugs. The investigation also thwarted a plan by four of the defendants to murder an individual on Charleston’s West Side on July 4, 2021.

“These defendants threatened our communities with their poison as well as gun violence,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “The amount of methamphetamine trafficked from Kentucky, Georgia, and Ohio is staggering. This investigation and prosecution wiped out all connections between the DTO’s suppliers and the Southern District of West Virginia.”

The investigation culminated in the seizure of more than 12.3 pounds of methamphetamine, approximately 34 firearms, more than $86,000 in cash, and several vehicles including three motorcycles. All 17 individuals indicted have been convicted.

“Today’s sentencing is the culmination of the tireless effort by FBI Pittsburgh and our law enforcement partners,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “The FBI will relentlessly pursue the leadership of drug trafficking organizations and dismantle them. Mr. Smith and the rest of the defendants in this case will face the consequences for trafficking the drugs that fuel violence in the Charleston area.”

The investigation also prevented a fatal drug overdose in St. Albans and several violent incidents including the Fourth of July 2021 plot. In that incident, four of the defendants - Treydan Leon Burks, Brian Dangelo Terry, James Edward Bennett III, and Douglas Johnathan Wesley - armed themselves in Rand and drove to Charleston to commit a drive-by shooting murder. Alerted to the plot, police in marked cruisers converged on the area. The four men abandoned their vehicle in a Lee Street parking lot due to the increased police presence. Federal agents executed a search warrant on the vehicle and recovered four loaded firearms: a Spike’s Tactical, Model SL15, .223-caliber pistol; an FNH, Model FNS-9, 9mm pistol; a Taurus, Model G2C, 9mm pistol; and a Sig Sauer, Model SP2022, .40-caliber pistol.

“Too often, Charleston and the surrounding communities feel the impact of illegal drug distribution and the violence associated with it,” said Special Agent in Charge Shawn Morrow of the Louisville Field Division for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “I hope the message is clear today: ATF, the FBI, and our law enforcement partners will not let drug dealers take hold of our neighborhoods. We are committed to making our communities safe, and to holding criminals accountable for violence and drug trafficking that destroys our families.”

“The success of this investigation is a testament to the outstanding work and effective coordination of the FBI, the ATF, the Charleston Police Department, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), the United States Marshals Service, and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office,” Thompson said. “I also commend Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Hanks and Alex Hamner for securing convictions against all of the defendants, including at trials where juries found Smith and two other defendants guilty on all counts against them.”

MDENT includes the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office and the Charleston, Nitro, South Charleston and St. Albans police departments.

A federal jury found Smith guilty after a two-day trial on May 26, 2022. Evidence at trial established that Smith distributed methamphetamine around Charleston between the fall of 2020 and September 21, 2021. On at least one occasion in early 2021, Smith traveled with co-defendant Terry to Atlanta to purchase methamphetamine from another co-defendant, Ramon David Alston. Trial testimony, wiretap evidence, and text messages obtained from Smith’s cellphones revealed that he distributed more than 60 ounces of methamphetamine.

The other major defendants were sentenced to the following prison terms following their convictions on felony offenses:

  • Timothy Wayne Dodd, 46, of South Charleston, to 21 years and seven months for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine;
  • Shane Kelly Fulkerson, 45, of Charleston, to 19 years and seven months for two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine;
  • Ramon David Alston, 42, of Decatur, Georgia, to 12 years and six months for conspiracy to distribute 500 or more grams of methamphetamine;
  • James Edward Bennett III, 31, of Charleston, to 10 years for being a felon in possession of a firearm;
  • Jason Robert Oxley, 39, of St. Albans, to 10 years for conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of a firearm;
  • Brian Dangelo Terry, 37, of Charleston, to 10 years for conspiracy to distribute 500 or more grams of methamphetamine and for being a felon in possession of a firearm;
  • Douglas Johnathan Wesley, 33, of Charleston, to 10 years for being a felon in possession of a firearm;
  • Jonathan Gregory Bush, 39, of Dunbar, to eight years and one month for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
  • Scott Edward Hudson, 50, of St. Albans, to seven years for intent to distribute methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of a firearm;
  • Treydan Leon Burks, 32, of Charleston, to seven years for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine;
  • Angie Lane Harbour, 41, of Given, to three years and 10 months for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine;
  • Michael Antonio Smith, 50, of Charleston, to two years for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin imposed the sentences.

The investigation was part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF 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. Today, 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. 2:21-cr-171, 2:21-cr-172, 2:21-cr-211, and 2:22-cr-90.

 

 

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Topic(s): 
Opioids
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Updated October 3, 2022