CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A man from Florida is going to prison on drug charges after mailing more than 18 pounds of methamphetamine to West Virginia.
According to United States Attorney Mike Stuart, Thomas Drew Bess, 39, of Flordia was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on a charge of “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 has previously pleaded guilty to the charge, admitting that on Sept. 1, 2019, he flew to Los Angeles from Florida and mailed a package to Charleston. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service intercepted the package Sept. 4, 2019, and after obtaining a search warrant, found approximately 18.25 pounds of meth inside, which was intended to be sold in the Charleston area. Officials removed all but 11.2 grams in order to conduct a controlled delivery.
Law enforcement then delivered the package to the intended address with the National Guard providing helicopter surveillance. The package was allegedly picked up by a John Harvey Bush, Jr., who was recorded picking the package up from the front porch and driving to his girlfriend’s home. There, police said he unloaded and opened the package, finding only the small amount of meth inside.
Stuart says Bush then tried to flush the shipping label shortly before law enforcement knocked on the door. He allegedly saw them through the window and was arrested while attempting to flee out the back door.
Law enforcement seized Bush’s cell phone on a federal search warrant and learned Bess had told him of the package’s contents, tracking number and estimated arrival date. Bush also pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced to 51 months in prison.
Testing at the Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory found the meth was 96% pure. Bess was then arrested in Florida and brought to West Virginia on an indictment. Evidence of drug trafficking and distribution were found on Bess’s phone.