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Press Release

Three Charleston Men Plead Guilty to Federal Drug Charges

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Three Charleston men pleaded guilty this week to federal drug charges. Dante Williams, 24, Darius Coles, 23, and Joshua Lawson, 31, were indicted in February 2021 in connection with a long-term investigation dubbed the “Woo Boyz.”

According to court documents, Williams admitted that on January 14, 2021, he sold two ounces of methamphetamine to a confidential informant working with law enforcement.  Williams arranged to first meet the informant in the parking lot of the Family Dollar store on Charleston’s West Side, but then directed the informant to follow him to Swinburn Street where the transaction took place.  Williams also admitted that he fronted the informant an additional two ounces of methamphetamine for which Williams would be paid later.  Williams pleaded guilty to distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison when he is sentenced on September 23, 2021.

Coles admitted that on January 27, 2021, he met a confidential informant at the Go-Mart near Bigley Avenue in Charleston to collect $1,200 for an outstanding drug debt.  Coles collected the $1,200 and fronted the confidential informant an additional amount of methamphetamine to be paid for later. Coles pleaded guilty to distribution of methamphetamine and faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on September 9, 2021.

According to Lawson’s plea agreement and statements made in court, after Lawson left a meeting with his methamphetamine source of supply on December 27, 2020, officers with the Charleston Police Department conducted a traffic stop on his vehicle in the 600 block of Ruffner Avenue.  An officer performed a pat down of Lawson and found an ounce of methamphetamine hidden in his groin area.  Lawson admitted he intended to distribute the methamphetamine.  Lawson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced on September 9, 2021.

Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Charleston Police Department, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), the U.S. Marshals Service and the West Virginia State Police. The Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) provided critical support to the investigative agencies.

Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. presided over the hearings.  Assistant United States Attorney Monica Coleman is handling the prosecution.

The investigation was part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF 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. Today, 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. 2:21-cr-00032 (Williams, et al.).



Updated June 9, 2021

Drug Trafficking