CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The gang activity believed to be rampant in Charleston isn’t isolated within the city limits.

Speaking on 58WCHS radio Wednesday, Chief Deputy Mike Rutherford of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department said it is a problem for law enforcement throughout the region.

“When Charleston cracks down, they start making arrests and (gang crimes) start popping up in their areas,” said Rutherford. “Then as we start making arrests, it goes back to the city.”

The recent charges that Detroit gang members put out a hit on Charleston Police Chief of Detectives Lt. Steve Cooper generated widespread attention in law enforcement.

“We have to be careful because it’s a different culture. We’re used to people who might get into a fight and somebody pull a gun or whatever,” said Rutherford. “This group of people has literally no respect for human life.  They just want to get rid of their opponents and do what they want to do.”

Although other gangs have been influential in the drug trade in West Virginia, the criminal organization from Detroit appeared to have the strongest presence. Rutherford said that was a product of severe budget shortfall in Huntington several years ago, when the city laid off half of its police force. The gangs took advantage of the lessened enforcement and moved in.

“That got the foot in the door for the Detroit people,” said Rutherford. “The last four or five large drug busts we’ve done through the sheriff’s department have just about all been Detroit people.”

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  • TCeer

    I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6....

  • Daniel

    When you strip law-abiding citizens of their right to bear arms and defend themselves against such hooliganism, this is the end result. Case in point: Wisconsin man shoots two drug-infested teens that kept breaking into his home and is sentenced to life in prison for killing them both! More liberal ignorance that is killing the very fabric of society! A man cant defend his home from thieves without the ever-pressing liberal media and judicial system vilifying them as the perpetrators not the victims! Disgustingly ignorant! Good luck Charleston and surrounding areas! You're going to need it!

  • 2XLPatriot

    When the criminal element becomes this brazen and out of control, profiling should be absolutely enforced. I don't mean racial, I mean license plate profiling. Every car with Michigan license plates should be stopped and searched. When they get tired of the "Harrassment", maybe they will be deterred from coming back. There comes a time when the boo-hooing over "freedoms" need to stop and, when the criminal activity reaches this level, that time is now. Sorry folks but, it beats the hell out of just shooting them. Maybe I won't seem so extreme when your family or friends are threateneed or fall victim to these thugs.

    • Jason412

      If the police started doing that, pulling over every car with MI tags, the dealers would probably be buying WV license plates from junkies, borrowing their cars, or paying them to register cars in WV much in the same way they rent apartments in WV.

  • Beagle Hound

    In terms of outright violence, mingo county or any other county in WV can't compare to what this article is talking about.


    No problem if they are black and from Detroit,,,lock em' up.

    • Jonus Grumby

      You are not a constitutional lawyer, are you?

  • northforkfisher

    The drug problem has been here for years, the thing is that now the poor are involved. The remoteness of our areas and all the government land makes us the prefect place to set up shop.
    Every fall tells the story, when the helos search weed and the amount they find.

  • like

    didn't necessarily mean Charleston per say. only those type of ppl. when they act like animals they should lose basic rights guaranteed by constitution.

  • like

    founding fathers had absolutely no comprehension of such behaviors or how low human were capable of sinking. laws need to be RE written for ppl that want to act like animals

  • David

    This problem has been festering for 20 years or more.

    Things are just as bad in Mingo county and they are all locals down there...