DEA: Man shot and killed in Clay Co. was linked to "pharmaceutic - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

DEA: Man shot and killed in Clay Co. was linked to "pharmaceutical" drugs

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Law enforcement officers shot and killed Richard Dale Kohler, 66, while trying to serve a federal search warrant Wednesday morning.

Members of the State Police special response team and the Drug Enforcement Administration tactical diversion squad were serving the warrant in relation to an ongoing drug investigation, according to Sgt. Michael Baylous with the West Virginia State Police.

During an investigation that spanned several months, agents suspected that Kohler played some role in trafficking "pharmaceutical-type drugs," said Shawn Ellerman, a supervisory special agent with the DEA in Washington, D.C.

Ellerman said the DEA places tactical diversion squads throughout the country where drug problems and abuse run rampant. The squad consists of special agents and intelligence analysts.

Several agents and troopers visited the mobile home were Kohler was staying on Maysel Laurel Ridge Road in Clay County at approximately 6 a.m.

When authorities knocked on the door and announced their presence, the man refused to open it, Sgt. Baylous said.

Upon entering the house, troopers saw the man pointing a rifle at them. That's when multiple officers fired at Kohler, killing him.

The team chose 6 a.m. to serve the warrant for a specific reason.

"Less people we know are out and about at 6 in the morning or in those time frames so we're taking all this in the planning stages," said Capt. D. Lemmon, with the WVSP.

Lemmon added that Kohler was the only person inside the mobile home when the incident happened. He could not comment whether weapons were found inside the dwelling.

Investigators spent the day combing the crime scene. A pile of prescription pill bottles was visible from one of the trailers on Kohler's property.


Krajewski and his wife passed the crime scene on their morning walk down Maysel Laurel Ridge Road. Krajewski, who's lived in the area for 30 years, said he's not comforted by Kohler's death.

"Who knows if this was a small operation or a big operation," he said. "I'm sure there was a bigger operation out there somewhere in the county."

Dozens of neighbors passed the crime scene Wednesday. Many said they suspected Kohler was involved in drug activity for nearly a year.

The investigation surrounding Kohler could be linked to other cases in the area, according to Ellerman. The agent could not comment on the nature of those investigations at this time.

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