Federal Jury Finds Two Men Guilty for Roles in Major Methamphetamine Conspiracy
(STL.News) After two days of trial, a federal jury today convicted Leo Antoine Smith, 38, of Cross Lanes, of conspiracy to distribute a quantity of methamphetamine and Douglas Johnathan Wesley, 33, of Charleston, of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
With today’s verdicts, all 17 individuals charged with various drug and firearms offenses in three separate indictments have either pleaded guilty or been otherwise convicted. The cases resulted from a long-term investigation of a large-volume methamphetamine conspiracy operating in and around St. Albans and South Charleston.
“This case represents an outstanding example of inter-agency teamwork and diligence that not only dismantled a significant drug operation, but also prevented a violent crime from occurring on Charleston’s West Side,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “I commend the excellent investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Charleston Police Department, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department, and the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT).
I also thank Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Hanks and Alex Hamner and the trial team for their commitment to this case and I congratulate them on its successful prosecution.”
Evidence at trial revealed Smith distributed methamphetamine around Charleston between the fall of 2020 and September 21, 2021, and connected Wesley to a foiled Fourth of July 2021 murder scheme.
On at least one occasion in early 2021, Smith traveled with Brian Dangelo Terry to Atlanta to purchase methamphetamine from Ramon David Alston. Trial testimony, wiretap evidence, and text messages obtained from Smith’s cellphones revealed that he distributed more than 60 ounces of methamphetamine.
Wesley was one of four men who armed themselves at a Rand residence on July 4, 2021, and drove to Charleston’s West Side where they intended to shoot another man. Alerted to the plot, police in marked cruisers converged on the area. The four men abandoned their vehicle in a Washington Street parking lot due to the increased police presence. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on the vehicle and recovered four loaded firearms. The jury found Wesley possessed one of those firearms, a Sig Sauer, Model SP2022, .40-caliber pistol.
Federal law prohibits a person with a prior felony conviction from possessing a firearm or ammunition. Wesley knew he was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of his prior felony convictions for first-degree robbery in Kanawha County Circuit Court on August 4, 2005, and for being a felon in possession of a firearm in United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on June 10, 2013.
Ramon David Alston, James Edward Bennett III, Treydan Leon Burks, Jonathan Gregory Bush, Kaitlyn Brooke Combs, Kelly Cordle, Denise Marie Cottrill, Shane Kelly Fulkerson, Brittany Frances Gilbert, Angie Lane Harbour, Scott Edward Hudson, Jason Robert Oxley, Michael Antonio Smith and Brian Dangelo Terry all pleaded guilty. Timothy Wayne Dodd was convicted on March 24, 2022, following a two-day jury trial.
United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the jury trial. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on August 15, 2022, and Wesley on August 17, 2022. Smith faces up to 20 years in prison. Wesley faces up to 10 years in prison.
The investigation was part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). 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.