(Before It's News)
ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA – Twenty-four individuals have been charged with federal drug and gun charges as a result of an investigation spanning two states and three North Central West Virginia counties, according to United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II.
Indictments were unsealed today alleging that a group of individuals from Virginia and West Virginia conspired with one another to operate a methamphetamine distribution ring in the region. The investigation led to the seizure of hundreds of firearms and significant quantities of methamphetamine.
Many of the defendants were taken into custody today during a coordinated, multi-agency arrest operation led by the Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Task Force. Those individuals facing methamphetamine charges include:
Shawn Michael Moser, 27, of Elkins, West Virginia;
Jerry Wilson Hartley, 35, of Elkins, West Virginia;
Kayleigh Marre Hartley, 29, of Elkins, West Virginia;
Robert Lewis Jones, 54, of Waynesboro, Virginia;
Richard Wayne Scott, 40, of Waynesboro, Virginia;
Joseph Muster, 28, of Elkins, West Virginia;
Samantha Canfield, 28, of Montrose, West Virginia;
Christina Crites, 46, of Elkins, West Virginia;
Calvin Norris Herron, Jr., 43, of Belington, West Virginia;
Gerald Allen Freeman, 41, of Moatsville, West Virginia;
Jeffrey Everson, 28, of Philippi, West Virginia;
Allen White, 37, of Buckhannon, West Virginia;
Jason Randall Howard, 37, of Elkins, West Virginia;
Brian Scott Mayle, 37, of Coalton, West Virginia;
Geniece Pancake, 36, of Belington, West Virginia;
Tyler Robinson, 20, of Belington, West Virginia;
Ronald G. Swiger, 36, of Coalton, West Virginia;
Trey M. Plaugher, 21, of Elkins, West Virginia;
David A. Maxwell, 31, of Elkins, West Virginia; and
Derek Scott Norris, 36, of Philippi, West Virginia.
In addition, Dale Lee Sharp, 45, of Elkins, West Virginia was arrested on an illegal possession of firearm charge.
Three additional individuals facing firearms charges have not yet been taken into custody and their indictments remained sealed.
“This case is a great example of Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies coming together to address a significant methamphetamine threat that was tearing apart a small community in West Virginia, said Karl Colder, DEA Special Agent in Charge. “The quantity of drugs distributed and amount of guns seized is staggering. This case should serve as a warning to those individuals who plague our communities by distributing these drugs and committing acts of violence. The Washington Division would like to thank our federal partner at the ATF for their outstanding support on this case. Additionally, the DEA would like to thank the Barbour County Sheriff, Randolph County Sheriff, Tucker County Sheriff, Elkins Police Department and West Virginia State Police for their continued support.”
“The defendants represent a significant number of Federal firearms violations including armed drug trafficking and prohibited persons possessing firearms,” said Stuart L. Lowrey, ATF Special Agent in Charge. “The Mountain Region Drug Task Force is commended for working to make the community a safer place. ATF will continue to work with this Task Force and other partners to reduce violent crime in the region.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D. Warner is handling the cases on behalf of the government. The Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Drug Task Force led the investigation. The Task Force is made up of the United States Forest Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the West Virginia State Police, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tucker County Sheriff’s Office. The United States Marshals Service, the Barbour County Sheriff’s Office, and the Elkins Police Department assisted in the arrest operation today. In addition, the National Guard Armory allowed the use of their space to coordinate these efforts.
“The United States Forest Service is proud to be a part of the Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Task Force,” said Kurt Morine, U.S. Forest Service Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Eastern Region. “We are committed to helping keep our forest and our community a safe place to live and visit. The investigation exemplifies how successful our agencies can be when we work together for a common goal.”
United States Attorney Ihlenfeld commended the work of all the agencies involved in the investigation.
An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty