Investigation of large-scale drug trafficking organization Sends South Charleston Woman and California Defendant to Prison

Updated 29 weeks ago From a Release by U.S. Attorney's Office for Southern District of WV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A man and a woman from Paramount, California, and a woman from South Charleston pleaded guilty  to federal drug crimes for their roles in a large-scale drug trafficking organization, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Gregory Crum, 42, and Diana Salazar Gamboa, 43, both entered guilty pleas conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Beth Hammonds, 52, entered her guilty plea to using the mail to facilitate a drug crime.

As part of a comprehensive investigation, agents from the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team, and Homeland Security Investigations intercepted several packages that contained crystal methamphetamine, commonly referred to as “ice.” Since January 2014, several pounds of crystal methamphetamine were transported from California and Nevada into the Southern District of West Virginia via the United States mail or through individuals driving packages of drugs into the area. Crum and Gamboa admitted that they arranged for methamphetamine to be sent into the Southern District and accepted payment for the drugs. Hammonds admitted that she received methamphetamine and further distributed it to individuals around South Charleston. Hammonds also admitted that she mailed proceeds from the drug distributions to Joseph Cooper, another individual involved in the conspiracy.

Crum faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison. Gamboa faces at least five and up to 40 years in federal prison. Hammonds faces up to five years in federal prison for her role in the conspiracy. All three are scheduled to be sentenced on August 3, 2017.

As a result of this comprehensive drug investigation, several defendants have been sentenced to federal prison. Cooper was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Benjamin Childers, another individual involved with the transport of methamphetamine in this drug trafficking organization, was sentenced to 10 years and a month in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Mark Cobb was sentenced to seven years in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Shayne Shamblen was also sentenced to seven years in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Mark Bays was sentenced to five years in prison for maintaining a residence for the purpose of distributing methamphetamine.

Several other individuals involved in the drug trafficking organization have entered guilty pleas and are awaiting sentencing. Morgan Light and Harold Lee Parsons previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and each faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Light is scheduled to be sentenced on June 8, 2017, and Parsons is scheduled to be sentenced on June 7, 2017. David Huffman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and faces at least five and up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 21, 2017. Jon Bowman previously pleaded guilty to using the mail to facilitate a drug crime and faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on June 1, 2017.

Assistant United States Attorney Haley Bunn is responsible for these prosecutions. United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., is presiding over these cases.

These prosecutions are part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of illegal drugs in communities across the Southern District.

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