17 convicted after large-scale drug trafficking organization dismantled – WSAZ

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A final sentencing was carried out Monday in connection with an investigation that dismantled a large-scale drug trafficking organization that operated primarily in communities in Charleston, Rand and St. Albans, United States Attorney Will Thompson announced Monday during a press conference.
The DTO organization has now been convicted of distributing more than 160 pounds of methamphetamine, as well as fentanyl and other drugs from March 2019 to September 2021.
Officials credit the investigation and prosecution of wiping out all connections between the DTO’s suppliers and the Southern District of West Virginia.
“These defendants threatened our communities with their poison as well as gun violence,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “This amount of methamphetamine trafficked from Kentucky, Georgia, and Ohio is staggering.”
The final defendant in the investigation, Leo Antoine Smith, 38, of Cross Lanes was sentenced Monday to 11 years and eight months in prison.
Smith’s sentence will be followed by three years of supervised released for conspiracy to distribute a quantity of methamphetamine.
More than 12.3 pounds of methamphetamine, roughly 34 firearms, more than $86,000 in cash and several vehicles were seized during the course of the DTO investigation.
A federal jury found Smith guilty after a two-day trial on May 26, 2022.
Evidence at the trial proved that Smith distributed methamphetamine around Charleston between the fall of 2020 and September 21, 2021.
Officials say on at least one occasion in early 2021, Smith traveled with co-defendant Brian Dangelo Terry to Atlanta to purchase methamphetamine from another co-defendant, Ramon David Alston.
Trial testimony, wiretap evidence and test messages found on Smith’s cellphones revealed that he distributed more than 60 ounces of methamphetamine.
“Mr. Smith and the rest of the defendants in this case will face the consequences for trafficking the drugs that fuel violence in the Charleston area,” said FBI Pittsburg Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall.
Officials also revealed Monday that four defendants, Treydan Leon Burks, Brain Dangelo Terry, James Edward Bennett III, and Douglas Johnathan Wesley drove to Charleston to Rand to carry out a drive-by shooting on the fourth of July in 2021.
Police foiled the attempt after receiving a tip. Officials say the men abandoned their vehicle in a parking lot along Lee Street.
Police recovered four loaded firearms from the vehicle that day.
“I hope the message is clear today: ATF, the FBI, and our law enforcement partners will not let drug dealers take hold of our neighborhoods, said Special Agent in Charges Shaen Morrow of the Louisville Field Division for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “We are committed to making our communities safe, and to holding criminals accountable for violence and drug trafficking that destroys our families.”
The other defendants connected to the investigation were sentenced to the following prison terms after convictions on felony offenses:
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