Operation Second Wave Update: Final Two Defendants Plead Guilty in Federal Court
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The final two defendants charged as a result of a long-term investigation known as “Second Wave” pleaded guilty this week and admitted their roles in a drug trafficking enterprise operating in and around Charleston and the Upper Kanawha Valley between 2018 and August 2020. Tonya Simerly, 36, of Montgomery pleaded guilty to traveling in furtherance of a racketeering enterprise. Steven Matthew Bumpus, 31, of Charleston pleaded guilty to theft of mail matter by a United States Postal employee.
According to court records and statements made at plea and sentencing hearings in the case, Simerly traveled with Jason Michael Terrell and Roger Drake from Charleston to Columbus, Ohio in March 2020 where they picked up approximately two pounds of methamphetamine that was later sold in Kanawha County. Simerly drove during portions of the trip.
Bumpus, a United States Postal Service mail carrier, admitted that he hand delivered packages to Larry Martin that were addressed to residences along Bumpus’ route in Rand. During Martin’s plea hearing, he admitted receiving methamphetamine and marijuana through the U.S. Mail and to recruiting Bumpus to make sure the packages were delivered to him instead of the addressees. In June 2020, police intercepted a package containing approximately 13 pounds of marijuana addressed to Elaine Drive in Rand. Law enforcement officers surveilled the two men and observed Bumpus deliver the package to Martin instead of the address on the package.
When they are sentenced on September 8, 2021, both Simerly and Bumpus face up to five years in federal prison.
Of the other defendants charged as a result of the Second Wave investigation, Jason Michael Terrell was sentenced last week to 14 years in prison, Larry Martin, Roger Jarea Drake, Carol Belton, Craig Redman, and Rashawn Miller have entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and are scheduled to be sentenced later this year. Sammy Joe Fragale, Sr. pled guilty in December 2019 to distribution of methamphetamine and is scheduled for sentencing in June 2021. Jimmy Coleman was sentenced last month to three years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Ronald Lee Thomas, III pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Gregory Woods was sentenced in February to 184 months after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and violating the terms of his federal supervised release.
Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston made the announcement and commended the excellent investigative work of all the law enforcement agencies involved in the case. The long-term investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Central West Virginia Drug Task Force (CWVDTF), the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department, the Charleston Police Department, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) and the United States Postal Service-Office of Inspector General.
Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearings. Assistant United States Attorney Joshua C. Hanks is handling the prosecution.
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 Nos. 2:21-cr-00064 (Bumpus) and 2:20-cr-00154 (Terrell et al).