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Press Release

Two More Defendants Plead Guilty to Roles in Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization

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

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Today, Gary Diaz, also known as “Poppy,” 66, of Nitro, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and Thomas Shane Holland, 54, of Salt Rock, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Diaz and Holland each admitted to their roles in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl in the Southern District of West Virginia.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on November 15, 2023, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Diaz’s residence in Nitro and seized multiple bags of methamphetamine and a loaded Diamonback DB 9mm pistol. A forensic analysis later confirmed that the seized methamphetamine included 6.32 grams that was 100 percent purity, 55.76 grams that was 91 percent purity and 871.7 grams that was 75 percent pure. Diaz admitted to possessing the methamphetamine and the firearm and further admitted that he intended to distribute the methamphetamine.

Diaz participated in the DTO from approximately November 2022 through November 2023.  Diaz admitted that he received a total of at least 30 pounds of methamphetamine for distribution during this period. Diaz commonly obtained the methamphetamine on consignment, paying for it after it was distributed. Diaz admitted that he received at least 1 pound and as much as 2 pounds at a time during the final six months of his participation in the conspiracy.

Holland admitted to buying approximately 16 grams of methamphetamine from co-defendant Derrell Cashawn Massey outside a Huntington gas station on October 18, 2023. Holland further admitted to arranging the transaction with Massey beforehand by phone. Following the transaction, law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle in which Holland was a passenger. Officers found the methamphetamine in a container beside Holland in the vehicle during the traffic stop. Holland admitted that he intended to distribute the 16 grams of methamphetamine.

Diaz is scheduled to be sentenced on July 15, 2024, and faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release, and a $10 million fine.

Holland is scheduled to be sentenced on July 31, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine.

Diaz and Holland 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.

Diaz and Holland are among 13 defendants who have pleaded guilty in the main case. One other of the 27 indicted individuals pleaded guilty to a related offense in a separate case. The indictment against Massey 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 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. 3:23-cr-180. 

Updated April 11, 2024

Drug Trafficking