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Press Release

Operation Smoke and Mirrors Update: Georgia Man Sentenced to More than 11 Years in Prison for Role in Drug Trafficking Organization Case

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Perry Johnson Jr., 30, of Dunwoody, Georgia, was sentenced today to 11 years and three months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Johnson admitted to his role in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that operated in the Charleston area.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Johnson participated in the DTO by directing large quantities of methamphetamine into the Southern District of West Virginia for distribution to local dealers and customers. On or about November 28, 2022, Johnson conducted phone calls with co-conspirator Alexandria Jasmine Estep during which he arranged to sell multiple pounds of methamphetamine to her. Johnson arranged for the methamphetamine to be delivered by third parties, including co-defendant Dashounieque Lashay Wright, in a vehicle to Estep’s Charleston residence the following day.  After Estep received the methamphetamine from Wright, officers conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle that had delivered the methamphetamine.  Upon conducting a search of that vehicle, officers discovered and seized approximately six pounds of methamphetamine.  

Johnson has a criminal history that includes seven prior convictions for controlled substances offenses in Virginia and Kentucky.

Estep, 22, of Charleston, was sentenced on February 22, 2023, to four years and two months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Wright, 27, of Detroit, Michigan, pleaded guilty on January 8, 2024, to use of a communication facility to facilitate drug trafficking and awaits sentencing.

Johnson, Estep and Wright 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.

Johnson, Estep and Wright are also among 27 defendants who have pleaded guilty. Indictments against the other 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-31.



Updated April 19, 2024

Drug Trafficking