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Traffic stop leads to biggest Greenbrier County drug bust in more than 25 years

RUPERT, W.Va. — Police in the small Greenbrier County community of Rupert swerved into the biggest drug bust in the town’s history over the weekend and according to the local drug task force it’s perhaps the biggest haul of illegal substances in the county for more than two decades.

“We found several one-pound bags of marijuana individually wrapped. Several jars of what they call ‘wax’ marijuana, what’s often called ‘dabs’ and there were the THC vape cartridges there. Just a little bit of everything,” said Rupert Police Chief Chuck Burkhammer.

What’s even more amazing is police sized more than $84,000 in cash and a couple of semi-automatic weapons. Police learned of the potential contraband at a home on Raleigh Street in Rupert after a routine traffic stop. Burkhammer said his officer pulled over a man for a traffic violation and discovered drugs in his possession. When asked where he got it, he told them and suggested they go there and they would find plenty more. Burkhammer said he wasn’t kidding.

“We got a search warrant and it was everywhere. We figured it was close to a quarter million dollars in product, plus the 84,000 dollars in cash,” he said.

The man who owned the home, Joshua Franklin, was arrested and taken to the Southern Regional Jail where he’s jailed in lieu of $50,000 bond. According to Burkhammer they so far have not released the identity of the suspect in the traffic stop. The chief believed Franklin was only a distributor and they are trying to learn more about his suppliers.

“He’s given us information of his supplier, but won’t give up his name. He just tells us where it comes from. It looks like most of it was coming through the U.S. Mail and coming from another state,” Burkhammer said.

The use of the mail and out of state suspects will bring federal investigators into the mix. For now, only Franklin is charged, but they hope to add others to the list.

“They had no clue of this guy being in an operation. Nobody on the streets had been talking about him so it was a total surprise. He had a pretty good set up. He would only deal with a few people and kept it under the radar,” said the Chief.

The radar broke down however when the wrong person got caught and alerted authorities about the source of contraband he had in his possession.

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