Operation Shutdown Corner Update: Two Defendants Enter Guilty Pleas to Federal Drug Crimes
BECKLEY, W.Va. – Two men pled guilty today for their participation in a drug trafficking operation in Raleigh County, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. David Dove, 49, of Scarbro, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of a substance containing methamphetamine, while Christopher Redden, 40, of Beckley, entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to distribute a quantity of a substance containing methamphetamine and being an unlawful drug user in possession of a firearm. Dove and Redden were charged as a result of a long-term investigation known as Operation Shutdown Corner.
“Operation Shutdown Corner did just that – it shut down a significant meth trafficking organization,” announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Meth is now the most pressing drug problem in my District. We’re fighting back through successful joint law enforcement efforts like this that dismantle significant drug trafficking organizations bringing large amounts of meth into our region.”
Dove admitted that between June 2018, and September 17, 2019, he worked with other members of a drug trafficking organization (DTO) operating in Raleigh County, West Virginia to distribute methamphetamine. Dove admitted that during this time period he supplied other members of the drug trafficking organization with distribution quantities of methamphetamine knowing that it the other members would resell the methamphetamine illegally. Dove admitted he was participating in recorded conversations regarding drug activity and to meeting with other members of the DTO to distribute and exchange controlled substances. Dove also admitted that when he was arrested, law enforcement officers found two “eight-balls” of methamphetamine that he intended to distribute. Dove admitted that he was responsible for distributing between 1.5 kilograms and 5 kilograms of methamphetamine during this time period.
Christopher Redden admitted that between January 2019 and September 17, 2019, he participated in the drug trafficking organization by working with Stephanie McClung and others to distribute methamphetamine and heroin within the Southern District of West Virginia. During this time period, Redden admitted to obtaining approximately 50 grams of methamphetamine a month and a quantity of heroin that he intended to re-distribute. Redden admitted that at times he was “fronted” the drugs, or given drugs without paying for them, and then selling the drugs for profit to pay back the supplier. Other times he admitted to paying for the drugs up front. Additionally, Redden admitted that on September 18, 2019 when he was arrested, he was in possession of a Taurus, model G2C, 9mm semi-automatic pistol that he had received as payment for methamphetamine. He also admitted that at the time he possessed the firearm he knew he was an unlawful user of controlled substances and therefore prohibited from possessing any firearms.
Stuart commended the cooperative investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Beckley/Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office, the Beckley Police Department, and the West Virginia State Police.
Both Dove and Redden are scheduled to be sentenced on May 4, 2020. Dove faces a mandatory minimum period of five years and up to forty years in prison and a $5 million fine. Redden faces up to thirty years for the drug and gun charge and a fine of up to $1,250,000.
Assistant United States Attorney Timothy D. Boggess is in charge of the prosecutions. United States District Judge Frank W. Volk presided over the hearings.