CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two Charleston men pleaded guilty today to drug offenses involving a multi-state methamphetamine distribution ring, with one of them also pleading guilty to a related gun crime arising from a foiled Fourth of July 2021 murder scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Brian Dangelo Terry, 37, and Treydan Leon Burks, 31, admitted to obtaining large quantities of methamphetamine from out-of-state for distribution in and around Charleston. Terry admitted to distributing more than 16 pounds of methamphetamine between March 2019 and August 2021. Burks admitted to distributing between three and 11 pounds of methamphetamine between late 2020 and Sept. 28, 2021. Terry and Burks pooled their money in order to obtain the drugs, used couriers to transport drugs and drug proceeds, and distributed the drugs to lower-level dealers and users.
Terry pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, and to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. At a separate hearing, Burks pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
With regard to the firearm offense, Terry admitted that he, Burks, James Edward Bennett, III, and Douglas Johnathan Wesley armed themselves at Burks’ residence in Rand on July 4, 2021, and drove to Charleston’s West Side where they intended to shoot another man. Alerted to the plot, police in marked cruisers converged on the area. The four men abandoned their vehicle in a Washington Street parking lot due to the increased police presence. Federal agents executed a search warrant on the vehicle and recovered four loaded firearms, including an AR-style assault weapon with a drum magazine. Terry was aware that he was prohibited from possessing a firearm following felony convictions in 2005 and 2011, both in Kanawha County Circuit Court.
In his plea agreement, Burks also admitted his role in the July 4, 2021 incident. On March 2, 2022, Bennett pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm based upon his involvement in the plot. Wesley is scheduled for trial on May 24, 2022.
“This case represents an outstanding example of inter-agency teamwork and diligence that has not only dismantled a significant drug operation, but also prevented a violent crime from occurring,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “A quick response and coordinated effort by law enforcement spared Charleston’s West Side from another tragic incident.”
This case is part of a long-term investigation of a methamphetamine distribution network that resulted in 17 individuals being charged with various drug and firearms offenses in three separate indictments returned in 2021.
In addition to Burks, Terry and Bennett, several other individuals have already pleaded guilty: Denise Marie Cottrill, Angie Lane Harbour, Michael Antonio Smith, Shane Kelly Fulkerson, and Jason Robert Oxley. Timothy Wayne Dodd was convicted at trial last month. The remaining defendants are scheduled for trial on May 24, 2022.
Terry and Burks are scheduled to be sentenced on June 30, 2022, and each faces at least 10 years and up to life in federal prison.
In announcing the guilty pleas, Thompson commended the collaborative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Charleston Police Department, the Kanawha and Putnam County Sheriff’s Departments, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) in investigating this drug trafficking organization.
United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over today’s hearings. Assistant United States Attorneys Josh Hanks and Alex Hamner are prosecuting the case.
This prosecution was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
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 Nos. 2:21-cr-00172, 2:21-cr-00171, and 2:21-cr-00211.