Drug roundup nets dozens in Raleigh and Fayette counties - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Feds release names in drug roundup


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) United States Attorney Carol Casto announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Charleston returned two indictments charging a total of 23 individuals for their roles in a Southern West Virginia drug conspiracy. 

The indictments resulted from a long-term investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Beckley/Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crime Unit, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the West Virginia State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

One indictment charged 18 individuals with one count each of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of crack and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and one kilogram or more of heroin.

The defendants charged with that crime are Velarian Carter, also known as “L” or “Larry,” 38, of Beckley; Detria Carter, also known as “Tria,” 32, of Beckley; Rashaun Carter, also known as “Show,” 39, of Christiansburg, Virginia; Charles Hill, also known as “UNC,” 53, of Beckley; James Rodney Staples, also known as “Rod” or “Puerto Rico,” 38, of Woodbridge, Virginia; Karl Funderburk, also known as “Scoot,” 31, of Hurricane; LetinaCarter, 55, of Beckley; Esau Burnette, also known as “Saw,” 38, of Beckley; Derrick Staples, 40, of Charleston; Dominic Copney, 23, of Beckley; Corey Larkin, 37, of Beckley; George Brockman, 37, of Kimberly in Fayette County; Shaun Jones, 39, of Beckley; Shaun Givens, 39, of Beckley; Jonathan Brockman, 33, of Kimberly; Jonathan Vincent Moore, 33, of Beckley; Shawn Akiem Anderson, 43, of Beckley; and Shaun Coleman, 45, of Raleigh County.

In the same indictment, some of the defendants identified above were charged with additional crimes. Detria Carter was also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. Detria Carter was additionally charged with one count of carrying firearms during a drug trafficking crime. Funderburk was also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute crack and one count of using a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. Larkin was also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. Moore was also charged with one count of distribution of cocaine.

A separate indictment charged five individuals with one count each of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, and heroin.

The defendants charged with that crime are Cheyenne Fragale, 29, of Boomer in Fayette County; Macon Fragale, 33, of Fayette County; Rory White, also known as “Dub,” 33, of Montgomery; Tiffany Ramsey, 26, of Boomer; and Donald Scalise, 60, of Fayette County.

These prosecutions are part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of illegal drugs. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of illegal drugs in communities across the Southern District.

NOTE: The indictments in these cases are only accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court proceeding.

BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) An early morning roundup on Wednesday nets dozens of suspects in the region's illegal drug trade. 

The investigation was a joint effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Beckley City Police Dept., Raleigh County Sheriff's Dept., West Virginia State Police, and the Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force. 

WVVA News had cameras in the courtroom as several of the suspects rounded up were arraigned in Raleigh County Magistrate Court on Wednesday morning, while others were arraigned in federal court.

Beckley Police Chief Lonnie Christian said the arrests were the result of a several month-long investigation that included unprecedented cooperation between different branches of law enforcement. 

"This is the most comprehensive and intricate crime suppression operation conducted in Southern West Virginia to date which targeted major drug operations. This investigation consisted of investigations within several counties in West Virginia as well as cases which led out of the state," said Chief Christian. 

Chief Christian, along with leaders at the Raleigh County Sheriff's Dept. and West Virginia State Police said the investigation is still ongoing as of Wednesday and they are awaiting a final tally of the arrests before releasing those numbers to the public. 

During a press conference on Wednesday, Raleigh County Sheriff Scott Van Meter, who previously headed up the State Police's drug unit, also called the roundup one of the most extensive investigations he has ever seen. 

"This is the most significant drug investigation and roundup that I've ever been involved in or I've seen in this part of the state." 

At a later date, Chief Christian said law enforcement will be releasing more information on the quantity and types of drugs confiscated following laboratory testing in Charleston.

"The take down required planning and cooperation among a large number of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, all with one purpose: to disrupt and dismantle operations that distributed huge amounts of illegal drugs across our area. The FBI has provided our area with tremendous resources in not just equipment, but in personnel to head the operation and the execution of the warrants and search warrants. We are very grateful to the FBI for their massive amount of work and resources it took to conduct this operation. Chief Lonnie Christian explains that “Today’s efforts are an example of what worked together with the Drug Task Force since he was sworn in as Sheriff to enhance the services and response to the community regarding drug issues can be accomplished by all local, state and federal law enforcement when we work together toward a common threat. Sheriff Scott Van Meter and I have within all of Raleigh County."

Finally, Chief Christian added "our main goal for the Beckley-Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force is to ensure that drug dealers do not see our area as a repository for criminal drug enterprises, and it has remained one of our highest priorities. Our officers in the Task Force have done a tremendous job in his major endeavor. I cannot say enough about the hard work and dedication it took by these members to conduct such an elaborate investigation. These are highly trained and committed officers who care about their community” The outcome of the investigation resulted in numerous federal and state arrest warrants being served and search warrants being initiated by the FBI, Beckley Police Department, WV State Police and Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office. Further details will be released as to the total amount narcotics, firearms, and property which were seized as well as the total number of arrests and search warrants that were conducted as a result of this major and highly effective operation."


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