Sheriff's department investigation yields multiple drug arrests
A Pocahontas County Sheriff's Department investigation that took more than a year yielded multiple drug arrests Tuesday morning as three teams of deputies and federal agents fanned out from Durbin to Buckeye.
Sheriff David Jonese said this raid is just the beginning of a series of drug arrests and should make a significant impact on the growing drug trade in the county. The sheriff said his deputies were out about 3 a.m., surprising most of the suspects in the early morning hours. Deputies were still bringing in suspects just before 9 a.m.
Jonese said the evidence has been reviewed by a third party attorney to ensure the evidence in these cases is "airtight."
That third party attorney, Robert P. Martin, practiced law in Pocahontas County in the late 70s and early 80s. Martin now practices in Charleston and around the state.
Martin said Tuesday afternoon that he had been working with the sheriff's department here for the past several years, representing them in civil litigation and on criminal investigations for about the last six months.
The sheriff said his drug task force, headed by Lt. Brad Totten, was also bolstered by three federal agents who work with the US Forest Service law enforcement division.
Drugs involved included everything from marijuana to cocaine and Oxycodone to Opana.
Jonese said cocaine is not the usual "drug of choice" here. Prescription drug abuse has long outweighed other substances in the drug trade here, he said.
"This is just the beginning of what's to come," Totten predicted. "This is a concentrated effort among law enforcement to try to extinguish the drug problem that is forever growing in this county."
Defendants were arraigned in front of Magistrate Kathy Beverage nearly all day Tuesday.
See the photo gallery for a list of defendants and their charges.