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Press Release

Operation Smoke and Mirrors Update: Charleston Woman Pleads Guilty to Role in Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Telisa Rene McCauley, 31, of Charleston, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, admitting  to a role in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that operated in the Charleston area.

According to court documents and statements made in court, McCauley admitted to conspiring with a co-defendant to obtain methamphetamine on or about February 4, 2023. McCauley attempted to obtain methamphetamine from her co-defendant prior to that date, but was told that the co-defendant was out of methamphetamine. The co-defendant then offered McCauley a discount if she would travel to obtain the methamphetamine on the co-defendant’s behalf. McCauley agreed, traveled to the designated located, and obtained the methamphetamine. Law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop of McCauley’s vehicle as she traveled back to the Charleston area, searched her car, and recovered approximately 7 pounds of methamphetamine in the back seat.

McCauley is scheduled to be sentenced on August 23, 2023, and faces a mandatory minimum of  10 years and up to life in prison, five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a $10 million fine.

McCauley is among 30 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 200 pounds of methamphetamine as well as 28 pounds of cocaine, 20 pounds of fentanyl, 18 firearms and $747,000 in cash.

Six other co-defendants have pleaded guilty. Indictments against the other defendants are pending. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent 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 presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy B. Wolfe is prosecuting 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-31.





Updated May 8, 2023

Drug Trafficking