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Press Release

Operation Smoke and Mirrors Update: Charleston Man Sentenced to Prison for Role in Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – John Paul Loudermilk, 61, of Charleston, was sentenced today to three years and one month in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Loudermilk admitted to his roles in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that operated in the Charleston area.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between January and March 2023, Loudermilk conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine by helping co-defendant Karl Lamont Funderburk distribute methamphetamine to other customers. Loudermilk sometimes received fentanyl from Funderburk in exchange for doing this.

Loudermilk admitted to usually meeting with Funderburk in the Charleston area to obtain methamphetamine and fentanyl. Loudermilk further admitted that he generally received between one-half ounce and one ounce of methamphetamine at a time from Funderburk along with one gram of fentanyl, delivering the methamphetamine to customers, and collecting money from customers in exchange.

Loudermilk and Funderburk are among 32 individuals indicted as a result of Operation Smoke and Mirrors, a major drug trafficking investigation that has yielded the largest methamphetamine seizure in West Virginia history. Law enforcement seized well over 400 pounds of methamphetamine as well as 40 pounds of cocaine, 3 pounds of fentanyl, 19 firearms and $935,000 in cash.

Funderburk, 37, of Charleston, pleaded guilty on December 6, 2023, to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, conspiracy to distribute a quantity of cocaine, and conspiracy to distribute a quantity of fentanyl. He awaits sentencing. Loudermilk and Funderburk are among 27 defendants who have pleaded guilty. Indictments against the remaining defendants are pending. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of 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.

Chief United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy B. Wolfe prosecuted 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-33.




Updated February 26, 2024

Drug Trafficking