Local, state and federal officials gathered Jan. 27 to announce the formation of a new drug task force in the Elkins and Parsons area of the state.
The Mountain Region Drug & Violent Crime Task Force includes nine agencies, said U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II., at a news conference Monday. Also in attendance was Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady; Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker; Tucker County Sheriff Brian Wilfong; Tucker County Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora, III; Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney Eugene Simmons; and Lieutenant Mark Weaver of the West Virginia State Police. Clyde Thompson of the U.S. Forest Service and Suzan Williamson of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration also participated in the announcement, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office.
The task force began working together in 2013 and waited to announce the partnership due to the sensitivity of ongoing investigations.
Federal indictments returned last week as a result of task force investigations include:
- Robert Franklin Davis, II, 35, of Buckhannon, 35 counts;
- Brandon Michael Beeson, 27, of Elkins, 20 counts related to meth;
- Jamie Nicole Chidester, 25, of Buckhannon, 16 counts related to meth;
- Chad Preston, 34, of Elkins, distribution of hydrocodone and cocaine;
- Keith Poteete, 48, of Elkins, three counts of distribution of buprenorphine;
- Jason Dwight Mackenzie, 32, of Elkins, one count of the distribution of buprenorphine;
- Jonathan Healey, 30, of Beverly, three counts of Distribution of Buprenorphine, one count of Aiding and Abetting the Distribution of Cocaine and one count of use of a communication device to facilitate a drug felony;
- John A. Boyles, 30, of Kerens, one count of distribution of crack cocaine; and
- Arica M. Boyles, 26, of Kerens, one count of distribution of crack cocaine and meth manufacturing charges.
Task force efforts have also led to August 2013 indictments returned against the following people: Destry Seth Poling, Shannon David Flagg, Misty Autumn Grafton, Michael Luther White, Eric Scott Pennington and Susan Chloe Ridley. Each person was alleged to have been involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine in Tucker County. Each of the individuals has been convicted in federal court and are awaiting sentencing, according to the news release.
The task force invites community members to report drug activity in their communities by calling 304-636-TIPS (8477).