Search warrant nets three arrests
Stephanie Lucas and Nickolas Matthews
Three Paden City residents are in custody following a search and seizure exercise of a home located at 128 South First Avenue.
Nickolas Matthews, 25; Douglas Matthews, 23; and Stephanie Lucas were arrested on Jan. 14 at approximately 7 p.m. after a search of their residence turned up 40 stamps of heroin, several bags of marijuana, other drug paraphernalia, an undisclosed amount of cash and a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun.
Nickolas and Lucas each face one count of felony possession of heroin with intent to deliver and one count of felony possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. Douglas is charged with obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor.
Both Nickolas and Lucas are currently housed in the Northern Regional Jail and Correctional Facility in Moundsville. Nickolas was on parole for a federal offense at the time of his arrest.
The arrests are part of an on-going heroin trafficking investigation in Wetzel County, explained Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught.
“Relative to heroin in Wetzel County, we’ve already convicted two, both of whom have a connection to Paden City,” said Haught.
Those convictions include that of Josh Mylar and Brian Long. Mylar pled guilty and was sentenced to 1-5 years in the West Virginia State Penitentiary for felony conspiracy to deliver heroin. Long pled guilty and was sentenced to 1-15 years in the state penitentiary for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver heroin and 1-5 years for manufacturing of a controlled substance for growing marijuana.
“With all of the heroin trafficking there is a connection,” said Haught. “There is also a connection with the 15 arrests or so out of Weirton, because most of the heroin is coming from up the river: Weirton, Steubenville, and Pittsburgh. That really is the connection; the source of the heroin. All of these individuals are obtaining the heroin out of that particular source because that is the pipeline for heroin in this part.”
Heroin is just one piece of a larger puzzle of drug trafficking. Haught listed the drugs that concern him the most.
“The drugs I am most concerned about would be prescription drugs first, then heroin and then third methamphetamine,” explained Haught. “Those are the three I think are the most dangerous of the drugs we see trafficked. We’re not seeing the cocaine and crack trafficking in this area.”
Weirton is a major heroin distribution point. From there, individuals are bringing it back to the Tyler/Wetzel area. Haught said the drug flow is moving fast.
“It’s a trickle down thing, but the problem is heroin is probably one of the fastest growing drug crimes because of the volume that is coming in,” said Haught. “Weirton is the distribution hub and it’s trickling down into our community.”
A member of the New Martinsville Police Department assisted the Paden City Police Department in executing the warrant. Sgt. R. Henry was responsible for the investigation.
“If we look at the arrests that have been made, we’ve broken down the responsibility for this type of trafficking that appears to be happening primarily in the municipalities. Because this was associated with an investigation that New Martinsville has been doing, New Martinsville and Paden City were the ones who participated in this.”
As the investigation continues, the departments are looking to see if they can seize the assets of Matthews and Lucas.
“We’re exploring other options, such as forfeiture of assets, but we haven’t had time to determine ownership or things of that nature to see if forfeiture is appropriate,” added Haught.
“I would suspect that there will be some additional arrests for heroin trafficking in Wetzel and Tyler counties in the near future, because of some of the information that we have gotten. The investigation is ongoing and the problem is ongoing.”
If any additional information is available, contact Paden City Chief of Police Mike Billiter at 304-337-2281 or Haught’s office at 304-455-8220.