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Upshur man sentenced to 15 years in jail on meth, firearms charges

ELKINS, W.Va. – Thunderbolt Dean Whaley, of French Creek, was sentenced Wednesday to 180 months incarceration for distributing methamphetamine and a firearms charge, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.

Whaley, 41, pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Distribute More than 50 grams of Methamphetamine,” and one count of “Carrying a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime” in January 2018.

He admitted to conspiring with others in distributing methamphetamines in Upshur County and elsewhere from March 2016 to September 2017. Whaley also admitted to carrying a .38 special revolver during a drug crime in Lewis County in July 2017.

In other federal court news, Marlin E. Beckner, of Buckhannon, was sentenced Wednesday to 63 months incarceration for methamphetamine distribution charge, according to Powell.

Beckner, 44, pled guilty to one count of “Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine” in August 2018. Beckner admitted to possessing crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice, in September 2017 in Upshur County.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D. Warner prosecuted the cases on behalf of the government. The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives; the Mountain Region Drug & Violent Crime Task Force; the Greater Harrison Drug &Violent Crime Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative; the West Virginia State Police; Upshur County Sheriff’s Office; Lewis County Sheriff’s Office; the Buckhannon Police Department; and the Weston Police Department investigated.

The investigations were funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program.

U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey presided over both cases.


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