Wyoming County Report

November 8, 2011

Wyoming police make more drug arrests

By Mary Catherine Brooks
Wyoming County Bureau Chief

— Beginning just before the break of dawn Oct. 28, law enforcement officers arrested 17 people throughout the day as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal drug activity.

Authorities were armed with two search warrants and a total of 76 felony warrants, searching for 25 suspected drug dealers in the Brenton, Glen Rogers, Lynco, and Oceana areas, according to Wyoming County Sheriff Randall Aliff.

The arrests continued into the following week, according to officials.

Officers confiscated $3,200 in cash, prescription pills, and one gun, according to Aliff.

“This is not the answer to the drug abuse problem,” Aliff said, “but it will help take some of these pills off the streets.”

At least one of those arrested complained he’d only sold one pill, Aliff said.

“If you sell one pill, that makes you a drug dealer as far as I’m concerned,” the sheriff emphasized.

“These people do this for personal gain and are taking advantage of the addiction problem here,” he noted.

“If we arrest them and put them in jail, it does take them out of the communities,” he added.

Aliff offered as an example, if authorities arrest 20 people, who may sell 30 pills a month, then that removes 600 pills a month from communities.

“Most of them sell a lot more than that,” the sheriff noted.

“Drug investigations are continuing all the time in Wyoming County,” Aliff said.

Aliff lauded the investigation efforts of Capt. Don Cook and the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, the Sheriff’s Department, and the West Virginia State Police.

The county Sheriff’s Department also participated in the National Drug Take Back Day Oct. 29 at three locations in the county and collected 127 pounds of outdated and/or unused medications.

“I believe this is a real good program,” Aliff said, adding the DEA will dispose of the medications properly.

“This keeps these medications from getting out into the communities,” he emphasized.

“I want to congratulate the members of the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department, the West Virginia State Police, the Pineville Police Department, and others involved in law enforcement for their completion of a months-long investigation which has led to the issuance of warrants for (25) persons on over 73 drug-related charges,” said Rick Staton, county prosecuting attorney. “I join our community in thanking our law enforcement for their cooperation and aggressive action, and our gratitude that these arrests were made without incident or harm to the officers involved.

“My office will aggressively pursue these charges, while recognizing that these charges are the beginning of a process that may ultimately lead to convictions.

“We will protect the rights of the accused while at the same time enforce the needs of justice for our citizens,” Staton said.

“In addition to any new charges, my office will pursue bond revocations for any persons already out on bond, habitual status treatment for persons who have prior qualifying convictions, and forfeiture of assets of any proceeds or profits from drug dealing.

“Make no mistake about it: There is a war on drugs in Wyoming County. It is being fought in some form in every household, on every street, in every community. It touches and affects all of us.

“Drug dealers should be considered enemy combatants in this war. My office will continue to work with law enforcement to seek justice for our community against drug dealers, and to send the message that this activity will not be tolerated,” Staton emphasized.

Among those charged Oct. 28 were:

— Ruth Bledsoe, 64, of Brenton, three counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

— Nancy Hawks, 67, Brenton, four counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

— Jennifer Fortner, 29, Matheny, three counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

— Darrell Wayne Dotson, 57, Oceana, three counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

— Matt Martin, 26, Pineville, three counts of delivery of a controlled substance and two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony.

— Tammy Denise Thomas, 51, Lynco, two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony.

— Mark E. Hall, 46, Glen Rogers, one count of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony.

— Stanley Ray Tabor, 56, Glen Rogers, two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

— James Kelly Bailey, 28, Glen Rogers, four counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

— Kim McMillion, 41, Lynco, one count of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony.

— Travis James Harvey, 29, Oceana, four counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

— Clarence Franklyn Salyers Jr., 40, Matheny, one count of delivery of a controlled substance.

— Jim Lester, 62, Oceana, six counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

— Stephanie Michelle Dixon, 42, Lynco, five counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

— Madgeline Compton, 31, Wyoming, fleeing and driving revoked.

— Ronnie Hatfield, 67, Marianna, fleeing.

— Keith Dotson, 33, Oceana, felony destruction of property and petit larceny.

On Oct. 29, officers arrested Charles Samson, 33, of Oceana, and charged him with four counts of delivery of a controlled substance and three counts of conspiracy to commit a felony.

Crystal Samson, 23, of Oceana, was also arrested Saturday and charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and three counts of conspiracy to commit a felony.

On Tuesday, Justin Morgan, 28, was charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony, according to Sheriff Randall Aliff.

Miranda Toler, 30, was charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

Additional arrests are expected, Aliff said.