13 Arrested in Drug Bust
By JOHN G. WOLFE
On Monday members of the Lewis County Sheriff's Department arrested multiple individuals throughout the county, following lengthy criminal investigations. The Lewis County Magistrate's office issued arrest warrants for thirteen people, with more possible arrests pending.
The charges against those arrested include delivery of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance, petit larceny, being a person prohibited from possession of a firearm and conspiracy. The total charges pending against the defendants exceeds 40 in number.
The drug offenses that were being investigated dealt primarily with prescription drugs and marijuana. Additionally, three vehicles were seized as a result of the investigation by authorities for having delivered illegal drugs from said vehicles.
The list of those arrested on Monday included: Samuel Grogg, Anastasia Rayworth, Brent T. Debarr, Carley S. Debarr, Justin Waugh, Sedona G. Knopf, Michael E. Arbogast, David L. Pickens, Tommy Sigley, Ronda D. Romel, Amber N. Butcher, Shawn Mayo and Ronald Johnson.
Commenting on the round-up, Sheriff Adam Gissy said, "Slowly,but surely, our community is beginning to clean up. We still have our fair share of drugs, and crime alike, but based on what we have seen over the past couple years, crime is starting decline."
The Weston Democrat will have more detailed information on the charges against each individual in next week's edition. The information was not available at press time.
Hall Is Assistant
By ALLISON CLARK
Former Circuit Court Judge Kurt Hall was approved by the Lewis County Commission on Monday morning to be the full-time assistant prosecutor for Lewis County.
Since Dec. 1, Hall has been the interim assistant prosecuting attorney, while the position was being advertised and resumes were being taken.
Newly elected Prosecuting Attorney Christy Flanigan stated at a previous County Commission that the rate of pay for the assistant prosecuting attorney is somewhat low considering the number of years of experience that Hall brings with him.
During that Commission meeting the rate of pay for the assistant prosecuting attorney was approved to be based on years of experience.
Hall, while the interim prosecuting attorney, was granted a salary of $80,000.00, which will now be his permanent salary in this position.
In other news, Daniel Germaine from Complete Title Solution inquired about how to speed up the process of attaining copies of deeds and leases from the County Clerks Office.
Germaine offered suggestions to speed up the process such as his company could pay to take pictures of the deed books, bringing in another copier or his company paying for overtime of workers.
Taking pictures of the deeds and the company paying for courthouse employees would be against the law and violate ethic according to the Lewis County Commissioners.
The County Commissioners asked Clerk Mary Lou Myers to figure out an overtime schedule until the office can catch up and to let them know what she needs.
Commission President Agnes Queen asked that the overtime of the Clerks office be put on next weeks agenda.
Economic Development Authority Director Mike Herron reported that he is still waiting for answers regarding funding from the government for the $10 million dollars worth of water projects that he anticipates for Lewis County.
Cassidy McCoy, President of Mountain Lakes Convention and Visitors Bureau, gave a quarterly report.
McCoy said they donated to $250.00 to 4-H for their annual 5K walk/run. There have been 10 new display racks within the county on display. They also participated in the Christmas Parade.
McCoy also said that Mountain Lakes CVB will be losing Elaina Massey as the director and they are seeking a new director with hospitality and tourism experience.
Marissa Aman will serve as the acting director until a permanent replacement is found.
Commissioner Pat Boyle said that they have been through a lot of directors in the past six years.
McCoy said that Mountain Lakes is almost entirely a fresh new board and that they are looking to maintain a positive attitude.
Boyle said that maybe since there is a new board that they will be able to work with the Lewis County CVB.
McCoy said that she did stop by the Lewis County CVB to introduce herself and to talk to them about cooperation.
"If something is going to change, now is the time," said McCoy.
The next meeting of the Lewis County Commission will be Monday, December 22, at 10 a.m., at the Lewis County Courthouse.
Braxton Man Is Held
For Soliciting Minor
A Braxton County man has been charged with three felony counts of soliciting a minor via computer/cell phone.
Kirtiss Stanley Swearingen, 62, of Vine Street, Gassaway, was charged with the crimes by Sr. Tpr. Adam Alton of the West Virginia State Police last Wednesday.
According to Alton's complaint, the police received information from a co-worker of Swearingen at the I-79 rest area in Lewis County that someone had been writing Swearingen's phone number in the restroom stalls. The co-worker first thought someone was "messing with Swearingen," but on Oct. 22 the co-worker had a cousin text the number. This individual received an explicit personal photo from Swearingen without Swearingen even knowing how old he was. The same individual advised the police that he believed Swearingen may be doing the same thing to other juveniles and agreed to allow Alton and Cpl. M.S. Clark to use his cellular telephone to communicate with Swearingen.
On the same date, officers Alton and Clark began to text messages to Swearingen and Swearingen asked how old they were. Both advised Swearingen that they were 17 years of age. He continued to text the officers who were posing as male juveniles asking them explicit questions and making sexual comments.
The next day, on Oct. 23, Cpl. Clark started communicating with Swearingen and the explicit language and sexual remarks continued. Then Swearingen sent Clark a photo of his penis.
On Oct. 24, Clark communicated with Swearingen again. This time, Swearingen asked Clark if he was coming back his way and if he would like to perform certain sexual acts. He also told Clark what he would like to do to him, all the time thinking that Clark was a 17 year old.
Swearingen was arraigned by Magistrate Roger D. Clem, Jr. last week with bond set at $150,000. He is being held in jail pending the posting of bond or further court action.