New Martinsville and Sistersville Residents Among 31 Indicted in Drug Ring by W.Va. Grand Jur

11 Law Enforcement Agencies Seize Drugs, Cash Guns

Photo by Alan Olson U.S. Attorney Bill Powell on Tuesday announces indictments of 31 suspects involved in drug distribution organization the Mountain State

WHEELING — Law enforcement officials in West Virginia and Ohio have cracked a local drug distribution organization, resulting in the indictments of 31 people.

Bill Powell, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, announced the indictments during a press conference held Tuesday at the U.S. Federal Building in Wheeling.

Indictments were returned by a federal grand jury on those involved, including 23 West Virginia residents, many of whom live in New Martinsville and Sistersville.

“The methamphetamine problem is a growing one in this district, and we’ve contributed significant resources to their investigations,” Powell said. “We’ve had a meth problem for some time … and the drugs we’re seeing are no longer the mom and pop type drugs we used to see, relatively impure. Instead, we’re now almost exclusively seeing very pure crystal meth made in laboratory. It’s a highly addictive substance and an increase in violent tendencies is just one of its many effects.”

The 11 agencies involved in the arrests seized more than $360,000 worth of methamphetamine as well as a large quantity of cash and firearms. The operation consisted of trafficking crystal meth, heroin and cocaine into West Virginia from Columbus and from as far away as Atlanta.

Also indicted were six men and two women from Ohio, who are suspected to be members or associates of a street gang called the Elaine Crip Family. Most of these suspects are from Columbus, with one from Canal Winchester and another from Groveport. They were indicted in connection with trafficking of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin into Wetzel and Tyler counties, as well as into the southern district of West Virginia.

While Powell said most of those indicted had been arrested without incident or turned themselves in peacefully, two men remain at large. Cedric Douglas, 39, and Todd Jones, 50, are wanted by the U.S. Marshals, both for trafficking meth. Jones has ties to New Martinsville and Douglas has ties to Columbus and to Florida.

“We are blessed with a group of highly professional law enforcement agencies at the federal, state and local government level,” Powell said. “We’re particularly proud of our task forces, including the Marshall County (Drug) Task Force, a group of dedicated individuals from local, federal and state law enforcement which spearheaded this investigation. Our task forces represent a force multiplier for our whole state and are a shining example of what we accomplish when we work together, and no one is concerned about who gets the credit.”

In addition to Douglas and Jones, those indicted included:

– Joshua Cathers, 38, of Sistersville

– Michael Shawn Hartline, 34, of Sistersville

– Rachel A. Cook, 28, of Sistersville

– Holly C. Jenkins, 55, of New Martinsville

– Justin Richeson, also known as “Squash,” 34, of New Martinsville

– Timothy Lohri, 36, of Williamstown

– John M. Talkington, 29, of New Martinsville

– Haley Weigle, 24, of New Martinsville

– Wilson Longwell, 26, of Littleton

– Desiree Morgan, 23, of Paden City

– Ronald Morgan, 50, of New Martinsville

– Richard Warf, 54, of Sistersville

– Charles C. Williamson, 31, of Sistersville

– Brea M. Saeger, 27, of Sistersville

– Miranda Stewart, 23, of Sistersville

– Susan Kotson, 53, of New Martinsville

– Alex King, 32, of New Martinsville

– Amber M. Richeson, 36, New Martinsville

– Boyd Williamson, 36, of Middlebourne

– Cynthia L. Henries, 47, of New Martinsville

– Randy Peffer, 25, of New Martinsville

– Doug William Matthews, 32, of New Martinsville

– Rodriquies M. Evans, also known as “Dree,” 27, of Columbus

– Marisa Page, 26, of Columbus

– Kenyatta Banks Jr., also known as “Yatta,” 28, of Canal Winchester, Ohio

– Matthew Jackson, also known as “Matt-Matt,” 22, of Columbus

– Delkira L. Rodgers, 20, of Columbus

– Robert L. Gregory, 36, of Columbus

– Aaron Callahan, 28, of Columbus.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert H. McWilliams Jr., and Shawn M. Adkins are prosecuting the cases on behalf of the government.

The Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol; Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Marshall County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative; the West Virginia State Police; the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office; the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office; the Sistersville Police Department; the Paden City Police Department; and the New Martinsville Police Department investigated.

The Columbus, Ohio, Police Department Gang Crimes Unit assisted in the case.

The United States Marshal Service assisted in the arrests.

The investigation was funded in part through the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program.

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