ELKINS, W.Va. — A new law enforcement group — a cooperative effort made up of local, state and federal officials — has already started its work in part of West Virginia.
Members of the Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Task Force are focusing on the investigation and prosecution of drug trafficking crimes in Randolph, Tucker and Pocahontas counties.
“It’s really a great day for law enforcement in this region because this area has never had a unit quite like this one that’s going to come together, share intelligence, share resources and go after drug trafficking organizations,” said Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for West Virginia’s Northern District.
“We see drugs from Detroit and Pittsburgh and Baltimore coming to this part of the district and this part of the state, so we decided we should do something about it.”
Ihlenfeld joined other county-level prosecutors and law enforcement officers in both Elkins and Parsons on a snowy Monday to formally announce the task force which was first created last fall, but is only going public now following federal indictments last week which are tied to the task force’s investigations.
“What’s unique and important about this group is that it brings together, like we see in some other parts of the district, federal, state and local agencies all coming together to fight the common fight against drug trafficking organizations,” Ihlenfeld said.
The following people were indicted last week and many were already in police custody by Monday:
– Robert Franklin Davis, II, 35, of Buckhannon who is charged with 35 counts related to meth manufacturing
– Brandon Michael Beeson, 27, of Elkins who is charged with 20 counts related to meth manufacturing
– Jamie Nicole Chidester, 25, of Buckhannon who is charged with 16 counts related to meth manufacturing
– Chad Preston, 34, of Elkins who is charged with distribution of hydrocodone and cocaine and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone
– Keith Poteete, 48, of Elkins who is charged with three counts of distribution of buprenorphine and one count each of distribution of hydrocodone, distribution of cocaine and maintaining a drug-involved premise
– Jason Dwight Mackenzie, 32, of Elkins who is charged with one count of distribution of buprenorphine
– Jonathan Healey, 30, of Beverly who is charged with three counts of distribution of buprenorphine, one count of aiding and abetting the distribution of cocaine and one count of the use of a communication device to facilitate a drug felony
– John A. Boyles, 30, of Kerens who is charged with a count of distribution of crack cocaine and two counts of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine
– Arica M. Boyles, 26, of Kerens who is charged with one count of distribution of crack cocaine and two counts of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine
The Mountain Region Drug and Violent Crime Task Force does operate a 24/7 hotline so community members can share information about drug activity at 304-636-TIPS (8477).
In addition to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the participating agencies include the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, State Police, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, the Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Tucker County Sheriff’s Department, the Tucker County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.