19 Arrested in Drug Bust
By JOHN G. WOLFE
The Lewis County Sheriff's Department, assisted by members of the Harrison County SCAD Unit conducted what is believed to be the largest drug round-up in county history last Thursday with 17 individuals taken into custody on Thursday in Lewis County and elsewhere. By Monday, two more had been charged, for a total of 19 people taken into custody.
The arrests were the result of intensive investigations dating back to late 2013. Readers are reminded that when it comes to felony offenses, there is no statute of limitations. One can be charged months and even years after committing a felony offense.
All of those arrested sold illegal drugs to undercover informants with most doing so on at least two occasions. The drugs sold varied from marijuana to prescription medicine and methamphetamine.
Although not directly part of the Thursday drug round-up, the Sheriff's Department also arrested a man Sheriff Adam Gissy said is believed to be a major area dealer of prescription pills.
After serving a search warrant at the home of David Joseph Hall, 50, of East Seventh Street in Weston, deputies found a large quantity of Buprenorphine, a schedule III controlled substance. According to the criminal complaint filed against Hall by Deputy E.E. Carpenter, Hall admitted to possessing the pills with intent to sell or deliver them.
Hall was charged with felony delivery of a controlled substance after he sold two of the pills to an confidential informant. He also faces a felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver charge after the search of his residence turned up the large quantity of pills.
Sheriff Adam Gissy said that it is believed that Hall obtained the pills to sell from various of sources and the Sheriff's Department hopes to find out those sources.
Hall was arraigned in Lewis County Magistrate Court last Thursday by Magistrate Roger D. Clem, Jr. His bond was set at $100,000.
Other charges against Hall may be pending and he remains held in jail pending the posting of bond or further court action.
On the arrests, Sheriff Gissy said, "Our county is relatively small in population, but we continue to have our fair share of drug complaints. However, I can say with confidence that our community is cleaning things up one drug arrest at a time."
Those arrested in the drug sweep in addition to Hall included:
Raymond J. Baugh, 55, of Pratt Street, Weston, was charged with selling Xanax on June 16 and selling the same drug again on June 17 to a confidential informant. Baugh was charged by Deputy J.R. Moran. His bond was set at $200,000 by Magistrate Clem.
Joshua L. Bland, 33, of Weston, was charged with selling methamphetamine on Dec. 12, 2013 to a confidential informant, and for selling morphine pills to a confidential informant on Dec. 15, 2013. Bland was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. His bond was set at $100,000 by Magistrate Michael R. Gissy. Bland is currently incarcerated in McDowell County.
James E. Breeden, 20, Main Avenue, Weston, was charged with selling marijuana on May 29 to a confidential informant. Breeden was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. His bond was set at $50,000 by Magistrate Roger D. Clem, Jr.
Henry E. Bunnell, 21, of High Street, Weston, was charged with selling marijuana on May 8 and the same drug again on May 13 to a confidential informant. Bunnell was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. His bond was set at $100,000 by Magistrate Gissy.
Ronnie E. Burkhammer, Jr., 34, of Old Mill Road, Weston, was charged with selling marijuana on Feb. 22 to a confidential informant and with selling methamphetamine on March 10 to a confidential informant. Burkhammer was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. His bond was set at $100,000 by Magistrate Gissy.
Justin R. Butcher, 20, or Arch Street, Weston, was charged with selling marijuana in Dec. of 2013 and selling the same drug again on Feb. 13 to a confidential informant. Butcher was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. His bond was set at $100,000 by Magistrate Gissy.
Debbie D. Dillon, 47, of Wilson Street, Weston, was charged with selling methamphetamine on March 14 to a confidential informant. This charged was filed by Deputy E.E. Carpenter. She was also charged with conspiring with another on Sept. 4 to deliver methamphetamine. The conspiracy charge was filed by Deputy J.R. Moran. Her bond was set at $150,000 by Magistrate Clem.
April S. Frymier, 31, of 4th Street, Fairmont, was charged with selling oxycodone on July 17 and the same drug again on July 30 to a confidential informant. Frymier was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. Her bond was set at $100,000.
Justin A. Gregory, 27, of Randolph Street, Buckhannon, was charged with delivery of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school on Sept. 21 by Deputy J.R. Moran, delivery of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school on Sept. 22 by Deputy Z.M. Lopez, and with misdemeanor petit larceny for taking $240 to deliver marijuana to a confidential informant and failing to do so on Sept. 23 by Deputy E.E. Carpenter.
His bond was set at $120,000 by Magistrate Clem.
Samantha R. Henline, 20, of Camden Avenue, Weston, was charged with selling synthetic marijuana on Jan. 25 and selling the same drug again on Feb. 13 to a confidential informant. Henline was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. Her bond was set at $100,000 by Magistrate Gissy.
Kathyrn Y. Lewis, 61, of Harrison Avenue, Weston, was charged with selling hydrocodone on May 2 to a confidential informant. Lewis was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. She was charged with a second count of the same offense, also in May, by Sheriff A.M. Gissy. Her bond was set at $100,000 by Magistrate Clem.
Josey L. Rose, 33, of Middle Run Road, Weston, was charged with selling marijuana on Feb. 5 and the same drug again on Feb. 21 to a confidential informant. Rose was charged by Deputy E.E. Carpenter. His bond was set at $100,000 by Magistrate Gissy.
Jennifer R. Ross, 32, of Rt. 2, Clarksburg, was charged with selling narcotic mushrooms on March 10 to a confidential informant. Ross was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. Her bond was set at $50,000 by Magistrate Clem.
William D. Weekley, 31, of Magnolia Drive, Clarksburg, was charged with selling hydrocodone on Oct. 18, 2013 and the same drug again on Dec. 17, 2013 to a confidential informant. Weekley was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. His bond was set at $100,000 by Magistrate Clem.
Shawn R. Wine, 26, of West 6th Street, Weston, was charged with selling oxycodone on May 27 to an undercover informant. Wine was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. His bond was set at $50,000 by Magistrate Clem.
Tonyia L. Woofter, 41, of Cemetery Street, Weston, was charged with selling Xanax to a confidential informant twice on May 2. Woofter was charged by Lt. D.S. Parks. Her bond was set at $50,000 by Magistrate Gissy.
Arrested over the weekend was Kara N. Lipps, 26. On Monday, Dwight M. Linn, 19, was apprehended As the Lewis County Courthouse was closed on Monday, we were unable to ascertain much more information on the last two before going to print. The Central Regional Jail site indicated that Lipps' bond was set at $100,000 and that she if facing a charge of delivery of a controlled substance. Linn is facing a delivery of a controlled substance charge.
A hearing will be held today in Lewis County Circuit Court at 2:45 p.m. on a motion filed by Prosecuting Attorney Lea Anne Hawkins seeking to remove Attorney Thomas Dyer from representing accused murder defendant Charles S. Feeman. Freeman, 51, of Archbold, Ohio is one of two men accused in the murder of Mary Friend and Maxine Stalnaker in 1999.
Freeman is scheduled to go on trial next Monday and such a motion could possibly force the court to delay the trial that Circuit Judge Kurt W. Hall has vowed to begin on time. Dyer is one of two attorneys appointed to represent Freeman, the other being James Hawkins, Jr.
In her motion, Prosecutor Hawkins wrote, "It has recently come the State's attention that one of its material witness was previously represented by Mr. Dyer. Further, during the course of his representation of said material witness, Mr. Dyer gathered information regarding the instant murder case. This has been corroborated by at least one additional witness."
Hawkins also said in her motion that Dyer was retained by the same witness to represent a family member, a situation that led to the witness seeking contact between Mr. Dyer and Freeman.
The motion claims that a conflict of interest between Dyer and the witness for the state and for that reason Dyer should be disqualified.
In court last week, Dyer argued that there was no conflict of interest in his representation of the witness or any member of her family. He told the court that the only time Freeman was discussed was when a state police officer contacted the witness about Hughes while he was seeking information on the case. "We had no discussion about Hughes other than that. I wasn't even familiar with the murder case back then," Dyer said.
Dyer said that if he believed there truly was a conflict of interest he would remove himself from the case. Dyer said that the state's motion was vague and indicated that he had gathered information on this case back then and that he did not do that.
Hawkins countered by saying it was not ethical for an attorney to use information from a client against them. "If she says she told him x,y.z. during trial, and it is pertinent to this case, he could use it against her when she testifies for the state, and that would not be proper."
Judge Hall requested that Hawkins get more specific about the allegations contained in her motion and to write it out so that he could fully understand what her concerns were. "She must have told you something or you would not have filed such a motion. Put the specifics in writing and give me time to review. I will then hear arguments on the 15th," Hall said.
Some at Sharpe
To Get Pay Raise
As a result of a West Virginia Division of Personnel (DOP) ruling issued last Friday, direct care workers at William R. Sharpe, Jr. and Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospitals will be receiving a pay hike and future employees will be under a more competitive wage scale.
The DOP decision stemmed from a court order issued by Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom, who had required that the Department of Health and Human Resources complete a market study of area hospitals near Sharpe and Bateman. The hospitals have been the central focus of the ongoing court case of E.H. v Martin, dealing with patient care at the two state psychiatric hospitals.
According to The Charleston Gazette, Monica Robinson of the DHHR assured the DOP that the DHHR has funding for the raises and that the agency is in hopes that by increasing the base salaries of basic care workers they will be able to fill needed vacancies and retain more employees. She also stated that if the plan results in a decreased need for employment of contracted workers, the state might actually save some money.
It is anticipated that the cost of the raises will be $2.9 million over a 12 month period. This amount is way less than the WV Public Workers Union says that the DHHR pays per year for contracted workers, which they claim was $5.3 million during 2013 and 2014 at Bateman alone.
The raise includes a 3% retention incentive for employees who have worked at the hospital for more than three years. Direct care employees will receive the incentive every three years. If at any time the pay of such employees does not meet the area market average wage, the employee's wages will be increased to that level.
The DHHR will do a market study each January and will adjust wages based on that study, increasing them if necessary.
New hiring rates for direct care employees are to be established by Nov. 1, and salary increases by Jan. 1.
Local Union rep and Sharpe employee Jamie Beaton said the raises and wage rates for new direct care staff members was a great first step, but that wages for all employees at Sharpe need to be increased.