CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced today that Larry Terrence Martin, 31, of St. Albans, and Sammy Joe Fragale, Sr., 72, of Montgomery, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Martin and Fragale are two of the 14 defendants charged as a result of a long-term investigation known as “Second Wave,” which dismantled a poly-drug network operating in Kanawha and Fayette counties.
“The Second Wave investigation put more than a dozen drug dealers out of business,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “I commend the valiant efforts of the many law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation. It’s a good day for West Virginia families when we get poison peddlers like Martin and Fragale off of our streets.”
Martin admitted selling methamphetamine, marijuana, and “vape” cartridges containing THC in and around Kanawha County since at least January 2018. The investigation revealed that Martin obtained drugs from out-of-state sources who shipped the drugs to West Virginia by U.S. Mail and private parcel carriers. Martin admitted that on January 26, 2018, he intended to take possession of a package containing 6.75 pounds of methamphetamine that had been delivered to his sister, Brandi Martin’s residence in Dunbar. Police intercepted the package shortly after it was delivered. Brandi Martin eventually pled guilty to her role in that offense and was sentenced in August 2020 to 188 months in federal prison. Martin further admitted that he had recruited a local U.S. Postal Service mail carrier, identified in the indictment as Steven Matthew Bumpus, to deliver certain drug packages to him that had been addressed to locations along Bumpus’ mail route. On June 22, 2020, Bumpus delivered a package containing approximately 13 pounds of marijuana to Martin near Belle. In his plea agreement, Martin acknowledged having distributed more than 10 pounds of methamphetamine and between 40 and 60 pounds of marijuana. Martin faces 10 years and up to life in prison when he is sentenced on March 29, 2021.
Fragale admitted conspiring with his son, Sammy Joe Fragale, II to distribute methamphetamine in Montgomery and in St. Albans. On August 18 and 21, 2020, Fragale distributed methamphetamine to an informant working for the Drug Enforcement Administration. He faces up to 20 years when sentenced on March 29, 2021.
The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Central West Virginia Drug Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Charleston Police Department conducted the investigation. Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearings. Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Hanks 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.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 2:20-cr-00154 (Martin) and 2:20-cr-00184 (Fragale).