Operation Smoke and Mirrors Update: Kanawha County Man Sentenced to Prison for Role in Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Georgia man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute 500 or more grams of methamphetamine as part of a drug trafficking organization (DTO) responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine in Kanawha County.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from 2020 until at least September 28, 2021, Ramon David Alston, 42, of Decatur, Georgia, sold 1-pound and multi-pound quantities of methamphetamine from his Georgia residence to individuals including co-defendants from Charleston, West Virginia, as part of the DTO. Alston admitted that he knew these customers intended to distribute methamphetamine in the Southern District of West Virginia.
Alston further admitted that two of his West Virginia customers visited his residence separately on July 19, 2021, and that he sold one of them a kilogram of methamphetamine. That customer was later stopped by police and arrested after being found in possession of the methamphetamine. Alston admitted to learning of the arrest, and of knowing that the other customer had purchased approximately 6 pounds of methamphetamine from him over the course of the DTO conspiracy.
Alston is scheduled to be sentenced on August 8, 2022, and faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison, as well as at least five years of supervised release, and a $10 million fine.
United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the excellent investigative work by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Marshals Service, the Charleston Police Department, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Hanks is prosecuting the case.
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-172.