31 Ohio, WV Residents indicted In Connection To Drug Distribution Operation In Wetzel, Tyler Counties
Wheeling, W.Va. — Two grand juries have returned indictments against 31 individuals from Ohio and West Virginia on charges involving methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin distribution that spanned multiple states, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.
Twenty-three West Virginia residents were indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in Wheeling on June 5, 2018 on charges involving a multi-state drug distribution operation.
“These indictments demonstrate our continued efforts to aggressively prosecute those who consider West Virginia as a viable market to distribute their poison. We are seeing increased trafficking of methamphetamine, which also brings increased violence. Thanks to our prosecution team, and the incredible efforts of our law enforcement partners, these indictments were returned. The cases are now on the path for a final resolution. Our mission to keep our communities safe remains paramount,” said Powell.
The alleged conspiracy consisted of trafficking crystal methamphetamine, also known as “ice,” heroin, and cocaine brought to West Virginia from Columbus, Ohio, and obtained from as far away as Atlanta, Georgia. Some are facing weapons charges involving a total of eight firearms. Those indicted are:
* Joshua Cathers, age 38, of Sistersville, West Virginia
* Michael Shawn Hartline, age 34, of Sistersville, West Virginia
* Rachel A. Cook, age 28, of Sistersville, West Virginia
* Holly C. Jenkins, age 55, of New Martinsville, West Virginia
* Justin Richeson, also known as “Squash,” age 34, of New Martinsville, West Virginia
* Timothy Lohri, age 36, of Williamstown, West Virginia
* John M. Talkington, age 29, of New Martinsville, West Virginia
* Haley Weigle, age 24, of New Martinsville, West Virginia
* Wilson Longwell, age 26, of Littleton, West Virginia
* Desiree Morgan, age 23, of Paden City, West Virginia
* Ronald Morgan, age 50, of New Martinsville, West Virginia
* Richard Warf, age 54, of Sistersville, West Virginia
* Charles C. Williamson, age 31, of Sistersville, West Virginia
* Brea M. Saeger, age 27, of Sistersville, West Virginia
* Miranda Stewart, age 23, of Sistersville, West Virginia
* Susan Kotson, age 53, of New Martinsville, West Virginia
* Alex King, age 32, of New Martinsville, West Virginia
* Amber M. Richeson, age 36, New Martinsville, West Virginia
* Boyd Williamson, age 36, of Middlebourne, West Virginia
* Cynthia L. Henries, age 47, of New Martinsville, West Virginia
* Todd Jones, age 55, of New Martinsville, West Virginia
* Randy Peffer, age 25, of New Martinsville, West Virginia
* Doug William Matthews, age 32, of New Martinsville, West Virginia
In addition, six men and two women from Ohio, suspected members or associates of a street gang called the “Elaine Crip Family,” were indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in Wheeling on April 3, 2018 in connection with the same trafficking of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin into Wetzel and Tyler Counties, as well as into the southern district of West Virginia.
Those charged in that indictment with “Conspiracy to Distribute and to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances” are:
* Rodriquies M. Evans, also known as “Dree”, age 27, of Columbus, Ohio
* Marisa Page, age 26, of Columbus, Ohio
* Kenyatta Banks, Jr., also known as “Yatta”, age 28, of Canal Winchester, Ohio
* Matthew Jackson, also known as “Matt-Matt”, age 22, of Columbus, Ohio
* Delkira L. Rodgers, age 20, of Columbus, Ohio
* Robert L. Gregory, age 36, of Columbus, Ohio
* Cedric L. Douglas, age 29, of Groveport, Ohio
* Aaron Callahan, age 28, of Columbus, Ohio
Of the indictments, Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee commented, “I commend the hard work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, the West Virginia State Police, and all of the other law enforcement agencies that contributed to this prosecution. Investigations such as this one take time, and I know that can be frustrating for the public. However, it’s important to do it the right way and hopefully now we will be in a position to make a positive impact in our communities through this prosecution. As always, I am committed to interagency cooperation and to the constant employment of all legal means to confront the lawlessness of the criminal drug culture and the destructive effect it has on our communities.”
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert H. McWilliams, Jr., and Shawn M. Adkins are prosecuting the cases on behalf of the government. The Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol; Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Marshall County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative; the West Virginia State Police; the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office; the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office; the Sistersville Police Department; the Paden City Police Department; and the New Martinsville Police Department investigated. The Columbus, Ohio, Police Department Gang Crimes Unit assisted in the case. The United States Marshal Service assisted in the arrests.
The investigation was funded in part by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.
An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.