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Press Release

Two Men Plead Guilty to Roles in Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization, and Kanawha County Woman Pleads Guilty to Aiding Co-Defendant

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

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Today, two men pleaded guilty today to roles in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl in the Southern District of West Virginia, and a Kanawha County woman pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting one of their co-defendants.

Christopher Anthony O'Dell, 38, of Hurricane, pleaded guilty to distribution of quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl and Shakur Raekwan Joyce, also known as “Cheeta,” 23, of Huntington, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a quantity of methamphetamine. The woman, Sharon Lyn Teston, 62, of Nitro, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute a quantity of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on August 18, 2023, O’Dell sold approximately 1.1 grams fentanyl and 3.5 grams of methamphetamine for $200 to a confidential informant at O’Dell’s Hurricane residence. O’Dell admitted to the transaction and to arranging it beforehand with the confidential informant by text message.

O’Dell further admitted to participating in the DTO with other individuals from approximately November 2022 through November 2023. The DTO participants used a St. Albans residence to store and distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine. O’Dell conducted distributions and transported various individuals from the St. Albans residence to a Ninth Avenue residence in Huntington where they received additional amounts of fentanyl and methamphetamine before O’Dell transported them back to the St. Albans residence.

On August 24, 2023, Teston traveled with Gary Diaz, a co-defendant of O’Dell and Joyce, to the Ninth Avenue residence in Huntington, where Diaz received approximately 1 pound of methamphetamine. Teston admitted that Diaz gave her the methamphetamine and she hid it in her pants before they drove from Huntington to Nitro. A law enforcement officer conducted a traffic stop of their vehicle on Interstate 64 in Hurricane. During the traffic stop, an officer located and seized the methamphetamine hidden in Teston’s pants. Teston admitted that she knew Diaz was a methamphetamine distributor and that he intended to distribute the methamphetamine she concealed for him.

On August 28, 2023, a law enforcement officer conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by O’Dell in St. Albans. The officer seized approximately 51 grams of fentanyl and two muzzleloading pistols from the vehicle during the traffic stop. O’Dell admitted that co-defendant Jashawn William Lawson was a passenger in his vehicle during the traffic stop and that he was aware that Lawson was in possession of fentanyl that Lawson was transporting to St. Albans to distribute. O’Dell further admitted to possessing the seized firearms.

On November 15, 2023, law enforcement officers served an arrested warrant on Joyce at his Huntington residence. Officers conducted a search of the residence with Joyce’s consent and found a quantity of methamphetamine in his bedroom. Joyce admitted that he possessed the methamphetamine and intended to distribute it.

Joyce further admitted to participating in the DTO from at least August 2023 to in and around November 2023. Joyce transported methamphetamine and collected and transported drug proceeds on behalf of other individuals, and received methamphetamine that he distributed to various customers. Joyce admitted that he possessed approximately 877 grams of methamphetamine seized by law enforcement officers during a September 20, 2023 traffic stop of a vehicle in which he was traveling on I-64 in Hurricane.

O'Dell, Joyce and Teston are scheduled to be sentenced on July 17, 2024. Each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine.

O'Dell, Joyce, Lawson and Diaz are among 27 individuals indicted in a 53-count indictment that charges the defendants with distributing methamphetamine and fentanyl transported from Detroit, Michigan, in Huntington and other locations within the Southern District of West Virginia. Teston was among the 27 individuals indicted, but pleaded guilty in a separate case.

O’Dell and Joyce are among eight defendants who have pleaded guilty in the main case. The indictment against Lawson, Diaz and the remaining defendants is pending. An indictment is merely an allegation and the 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 Cabell County Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), the West Virginia State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. 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.

United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the hearings. Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph F. Adams and Stephanie Taylor are prosecuting the cases.

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 Nos. 3:23-cr-180 (O’Dell and Joyce) and 3:24-cr-8 (Teston). 




Updated March 20, 2024

Drug Trafficking