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Florida Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Conspiracy

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 CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced that Thomas Drew Bess, 39, of Florida, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

“It’s 30 years in prison for Bess who mailed more than 18 pounds of meth from Los Angeles to Charleston,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “It was the great teamwork between the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the DEA, the U.S. Postal Service-OIG, the West Virginia National Guard and my office that kept this shipment of 96% pure meth from being sold throughout our communities.”

Bess previously pled guilty and admitted that on September 1, 2019, he flew from Florida to Los Angeles, California. While there, Bess mailed a package that contained approximately 18.25 pounds of methamphetamine to Charleston. The package was picked up by a John Harvey Bush, Jr., and the methamphetamine was intended to be sold in the Charleston area. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) intercepted the package on September 4, 2019. Upon obtaining a search warrant for the package, they discovered over 18 pounds of methamphetamine inside. The majority of the methamphetamine was removed, except for 11.2 grams, which remained inside the package in order to conduct a controlled delivery. As law enforcement was delivering the package, the National Guard provided helicopter surveillance of the area. Bush was recorded driving to the residence and taking the package from the front porch. He then drove the package to his girlfriend’s residence, where he unloaded and opened the package, and discovered only 11.2 grams of methamphetamine. He attempted to flush the shipping label to the package. Shortly afterwards, law enforcement knocked on the front door of the girlfriend’s residence. Bush saw them through the window and was arrested as he tried to flee out the back door. Bush’s cell phone was seized and searched pursuant to a federal search warrant, where it became apparent that Bess had told Bush of the contents of the package, its tracking number, and when it would be arriving.  The methamphetamine was sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) laboratory, where it tested 96% pure. Bess was subsequently arrested in Florida and brought to the Southern District of West Virginia on an indictment. Bess’ phone was searched pursuant to a federal warrant, wherein evidence of drug trafficking and distribution were discovered. Bush pled guilty and was sentenced to 51 months in prison.  

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General, and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) conducted the investigation. The West Virginia National Guard assisted law enforcement with the investigation. Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney L. Alexander Hamner handled the prosecution.


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