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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, Charles Clinton Cordle, 65, of Ashland, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and Josie Irene Copley, 58, of Flatwoods, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a quantity of fentanyl. Both 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 October 23, 2023, Cordle received approximately 14 grams of methamphetamine and 9 grams of fentanyl in the area of the 2700 block of Highlawn Avenue in Huntington after arranging to receive the controlled substances during a phone call with another person. A law enforcement officer conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by Cordle following the transaction, and the officer located and seized the methamphetamine and fentanyl during the traffic stop. Cordle admitted that he intended to distribute the controlled substances.

On October 25, 2023, Copley purchased approximately 13.98 grams of fentanyl in Huntington from co-defendant Kyla Smith after calling Smith and arranging the transaction. After Copley purchased the fentanyl, a law enforcement officer conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle in which Copley was a passenger. Copley told the officer she had drugs in her possession and surrendered the fentanyl she had obtained from Smith. Copley admitted that the officer also seized approximately 2.11 grams of methamphetamine during the traffic stop that she possessed and intended to sell.

On November 15, 2023, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Copley’s residence in Flatwoods, Kentucky. Officers seized quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl and a New England Firearms .410-gauge shotgun.

Cordle and Copley are scheduled to be sentenced on August 19, 2024. Each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine.

Smith, also known as “Flaca,” 29, of Huntington, pleaded guilty on April 3, 2024, to possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and awaits sentencing.

Cordle, Copley and Smith 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.

Cordle, Copley and Smith are also among 19 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 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 15, 2024

Drug Trafficking