United States Attorney Mike Stuart on Aug. 26 announced the takedown of a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing meth, heroin and marijuana in Kanawha and Fayette counties. The arrests were the result of a long-term investigation, dubbed "Second Wave," led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central West Virginia Drug Task Force (CWVDTF). A federal grand jury returned two indictments charging 12 individuals in connection with their roles in the drug organization.
"Meth. Heroin. Marijuana. The takedown of this network of drug dealers is another major victory for the people of West Virginia," said Stuart in a press release. "Long-term targets. Long-term problems. A drug trafficking organization that was fueling terrible addiction, pain, chaos and despair is now shut down.
"The people of Kanawha and Fayette counties are certainly safer as a result of today's arrests. I commend our many federal, state and local law enforcement partners for their remarkable work in this long-term investigation. I am proud of our law enforcement leadership at every level throughout West Virginia but I want to specifically thank the men and women that serve on the front lines of law enforcement across this great state. Taking down a major drug trafficking organization is difficult and dangerous work. My hat is off to each of you. I pray for your safety each night. Thank you for your commitment to the people of West Virginia and the rule of law."
"The group of people arrested today have been a menace in our communities for too long," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman. "Today's takedown sends a strong message to not only this community, but other drug organizations who think they can do business here. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate this activity. Operations like this are made more difficult without strong partnerships, and I commend the joint efforts by the ATF, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Central WV Drug Task Force and MDENT."
Charged in a six-count indictment were:
• Jason Michael Terrell, 36, of Mount Carbon;
• Larry Terrence Martin, 31, of Charleston;
• Carol Belton, 61, of Montgomery;
• Steven Matthew Bumpus, 31, of Charleston;
• Jimmy Lee Coleman, 34, of Gauley Bridge;
• Roger Jarea Drake, 31, of Charleston;
• Rashawn Akmed Miller, 36, of Columbus, Ohio;
• William Lee Patton, 62, of Montgomery;
• Craig Edward Redman, 41, of Kimberly;
• Tonya Nichole Simerly, 35, of Montgomery; and
• Ronald Lee Thomas III, 28, of Charleston.
The indictment charges Terrell, Martin, Belton, Coleman, Drake, Miller, Patton and Redman with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine from July 2019 to August 2020. The indictment further charges Bumpus, Simerly and Thomas with various drug trafficking crimes carried out in connection with the DTO.
Earlier last week, defendant Larry Martin's sister, Brandi Martin, was sentenced in federal court to 188 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
In a separate indictment, Gregory Eugene Woods, 43, of St. Albans, was charged with possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine. Two additional defendants, Sammy Joe Fragale Sr., also known as Joe, and Sammy Joe Fragale Jr., also known as Bubby, were arrested on a federal criminal complaint for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Central West Virginia Drug Task Force and the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team, with assistance from the CSX Transportation Police Department. The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation of the Fragales. Assistant United States Attorney Joshua C. Hanks is handling the prosecution.
The Central West Virginia Drug Task Force is comprised of the Fayette County Sheriff's Department, West Virginia State Police, Summersville Police Department, Nicholas County Sheriff's Department, Oak Hill Police Department and Fayetteville Police Department.
The investigation was part of the Department of Justice's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. 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.
Please note: 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.