BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A Beckley man pled guilty today for his participation in a drug trafficking operation in Raleigh County, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Oyontikeyta Jones, 41, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine and to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jones was one of 17 defendants charged in federal court as a result of a long-term investigation known as Operation Shutdown Corner.
“When we get gun toting drug dealers like Jones off of our streets, it is a big win for West Virginia communities,” United States Attorney Mike Stuart said. “I commend the work of all the agencies that helped bring the members of this particular drug trafficking organization to justice.”
At the plea hearing it was established that between June 2018 and September 17, 2019, Jones worked with other members of a drug trafficking organization (DTO) to facilitate the distribution of methamphetamine in Raleigh County. During this time period, Jones had methamphetamine shipped from California to the Southern District of West Virginia. This was accomplished by having packages delivered to other members of the DTO. Jones or others would then give directions on where the drugs should be delivered. More specifically, on August 9, 2019, a package from California was delivered to a residence in Bluefield. Jones directed the recipient of that package to bring the package to Raleigh County, and meet him at a specified location. After Jones was picked up by the other member, a traffic stop was made in Beckley on the car that Jones was a passenger. When the officer approached the car, Jones fled on foot but was later apprehended at a nearby business. During a search of the car, officers found the package that had just been shipped from California. The package contained approximately two pounds of methamphetamine.
Additionally, during the hearing, it was established that on August 6, 2019, officers with the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department approached Jones while he was stopped on the side of the road. At this time, officers found a Glock, model 26, 9mm semi-automatic pistol. It also was established that earlier that same day, Jones was observed on video surveillance possessing that same firearm. Jones knew that he was prohibited from possessing any firearm due to being convicted of another felony offense in California. The United States was able to establish that the firearm was operable and traveled in and affected interstate commerce.
Stuart commended the cooperative investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Beckley/Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office, the Beckley Police Department and the West Virginia State Police.
Jones faces a mandatory minimum period of 10 years and up to life in prison, and a fine of up to $10 million when he is sentenced on October 2, 2020.
Assistant United States Attorney Timothy D. Boggess is in charge of the prosecutions. The plea hearing was held before United States District Judge Frank W. Volk.