DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of West Virginia

For Immediate Release

Monday, January 6, 2020
Michael B. Stuart
, United States Attorney
Contact: Deanna Eder

Charleston Drug Trafficker Sentenced to Fifteen Years in Federal Prison

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Charleston man was sentenced to federal prison for a drug crime, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Robert Thomas, also known as “Zombie,” was sentenced to 15 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  He was also ordered to serve a term of five years on supervised release.

“Thomas had a significant amount of meth and an arsenal of firearms,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “And now he’ll be serving many years – 15 years – in federal prison.  I am forever appreciative of the work our law enforcement partners do to remove dangerous drug dealers like Thomas from our streets.  As a result of their work, we can sleep more soundly at night.”

“Drug dealers with guns are violent criminals who pose an increased threat to the safety of our communities,” stated ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Tommy Estevan of the Louisville Field Division. “Our ongoing partnerships with local, state, and federal law enforcement not only are a wise use of resources, but are getting measurable results for the citizens of West Virginia.” 

Thomas previously admitted that on January 17, 2017, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at his residence on Joseph Street in Charleston. Detectives located 989 grams of methamphetamine and the following firearms: Masterpiece Arms, 9mm caliber pistol; Kimber, model micro carry, .380 caliber pistol; Russian, model SKS, 7.62 caliber rifle; and, Springfield Armory, model SOCOM 16, .308 caliber rifle. Thomas admitted to possessing the firearms to protect himself and the drugs. He further admitted to possessing the methamphetamine with the intention of distributing it.

The Charleston Police Department, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation.   Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber imposed the sentence.  Assistant United States Attorney Ryan A. Saunders handled the prosecution.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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Louisville Field Division