CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A woman accused in a massive drug bust operation had pleaded guilty to her alleged role in a major drug trafficking organization.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Nicole Leigh Fierbaugh, 44, of Charleston entered a guilty plea in court on July 13, 2023, to a charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Court records state Firebaugh is accused of conspiring with others to sell meth between October 2022 and March 2023. She allegedly admitted to collecting money from her customers, and then buying meth from a co-defendant using that money, according to court records.
The DOJ says Fierbaugh then delivered the meth to her customers, but kept some for her personal use. She is also accused of arranging to buy meth from a co-defendant and sell 10.5 grams of it to a woman for $160.
According to the DOJ, Fierbaugh’s sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 2, 2023. She faces up to 20 years in prison with at least three years to a lifetime of supervised release and a $1 million fine.
Fierbaugh is among the 30 defendants charged in an eight-month long investigation known as “Operation Smoke and Mirrors.”
In the operation, authorities seized more than 200 pounds of methamphetamine along with 28 pounds of cocaine, 20 pounds of fentanyl, 18 firearms, and $747,000 in cash.
The operation included the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), the West Virginia State Police, the West Virginia National Guard Counter Drug program, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, the Charleston Police Department, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office.
MDENT includes the Charleston Police Department, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the Nitro Police Department, the St. Albans Police Department and the South Charleston Police Department.
Those charged include Antonio Lamar Jeffries, 34, and Michael Allen Roberts, Jr., 40, both of St. Albans; Karl Lamont Funderburk, 37, of Hurricane, Mark Leslie Lively, 56, of Kenna; Scott Jeremy Savage, 46, of Nitro; Ryan Keith Kincaid, 46, of South Charleston; Todd Tyler Snead, 57, of Waynesboro, Virginia; and Tres Avery Davis, 34, Telisa Rene McCauley, 31, Deayria Eyshay Willis, 24, John Paul Loudermilk, 60, Timothy Allen Loudermilk, 63, Keith Royal Goode-Harper, 31, Nicole Leigh Fierbaugh, 44, Latesha Lashae Nappier, 29, Jeremy Rayshad Walker, 34, Charles Norman Pannell, 43, and Les Van Bumpus, 34, all of Charleston.
14 of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and the indictment attributes 500 grams or more of meth to Jeffries, Davis, McCauly, Robert, and Snead. It also attributes 50 grams or more to Funderburk. Six of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, and six of them were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
Alexandria Jasmine Estep, 21, and Robert Dewayne Miller, 35, both of Charleston; and Perry Johnson, Jr., 29, and Dashounieque Lashay Wright, 26, both of Detroit, Michigan, were charged in a separate one-count federal indictment for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Eight other people were previously indicted as part of this operation: Jasper Wemh, 38, Justin Allen Bowen, 40, Richard Allen Bowen, 62, Kimberly Dawn Legg, 49, Larry Wayne Legg, 55, and Stanley Aaron Burkes, 62, all of Charleston; McKenzie Bowen, also known as McKenzie Myers, 24, of Belle; and Nicholas Bradford Confere, 35, of Mammoth.