(STL.News) – A St. Albans man was sentenced today for his role in a drug crime that spanned several states, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. John Harvey Bush Jr., 27, was sentenced to 51 months in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release. Bush had previously pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the work of law enforcement in this case which kept 18 pounds of 96% pure meth from hitting our streets,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Our collaborative efforts are putting a real dent in area meth trafficking.”
On September 4, 2019, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service intercepted a package shipped from Los Angeles, California to a Charleston residence. 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 was then followed as he drove the package to his girlfriend’s residence, where he unloaded and opened the package.
Upon opening the package, Bush discovered there to be only 11.2 grams of methamphetamine and 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. On the phone were text messages from a Thomas Drew Bess of Florida making Bush aware of the contents of the package, its tracking number, and when it would be arriving.
The methamphetamine was sent to the DEA laboratory, where it tested 96% pure. Law enforcement officers were able to determine that Bess had mailed the package from California. Flight records confirmed that Bess had traveled to California from Florida to mail the package of methamphetamine. Bess was subsequently arrested in Florida and brought to the Southern District of West Virginia on conspiracy charges. Bess’ phone was searched pursuant to a federal warrant, wherein evidence of drug trafficking and distribution was discovered. Bess pled guilty on August 24, 2020. Bess’ sentencing date is scheduled for December 8, 2020. He faces up to life in prison at sentencing.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General, and the United States Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation. The West Virginia National Guard assisted law enforcement with their investigation. Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney L. Alexander Hamner is handling the prosecution.
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) is an independent component of the U.S. Department of Justice. Established in 1982, OCDETF is the keystone of the Attorney General’s strategy to reduce the availability of illicit narcotics throughout the United States using a prosecutor-led, multi-agency approach to combat transnational organized crime. OCDETF agents and prosecutors nationwide handle complex investigations and prosecutions of the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, and other priority transnational criminal organizations that threaten the citizens of the United States. OCDETF facilitates joint operations by focusing its partner agencies on priority targets, by managing and coordinating multi-agency efforts, and by leveraging intelligence across multiple investigative platforms.