More Than 100 Charged in Massive Drug Round-up in Fayette and Nicholas Counties

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — What’s being called one of the largest drug round-ups in state history is happening today in Nicholas and Fayette counties.

More than 100 people have been charged with a variety of drug crimes—-totaling 300 charges in what authorities are calling “Mountain Justice.”

Those who have already been arrested are being brought to the Fayette County Courthouse for arraignment. Presently, upwards of 80 people have been arrested in a joint operation that involved 14 different agencies.

“Our Central West Virginia Task Force is really doing a phenomenal job,” Fayette County Prosecutor Larry Harrah said during an interview on MetroNews Talkline. “And when I took over here in Fayette County as Prosecuting Attorney, I wanted to make the drug problem, the drug epidemic here in my county, I wanted to make that top priority. And they have responded exceedingly well.”

The 14 involved agencies were comprised of local, state, and federal authorities.

“It was a collaborative effort between all those agencies and the state and local agencies as well,” Harrah said. “It’s through hard work. Drug work is not easy. It is something that takes time.”

The arrests were made in connection with hundreds of undercover buys.

“Most of these are undercover deliveries of controlled substances, but it’s my understanding that most of the individuals have at least two to three charges–which means that they’ve been involved in the drug trafficking multiple times to be caught,” Nicholas County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Crane told Hoppy Kercheval on MetroNews Talkline Thursday morning.

Crane said the vast majority of the cases she sees in Nicholas County usually involve drug use in one form or another.

“It seems as if drugs are kind of in the wings of just about every story that we hear,” she said. “And eliminating the distribution part of this is one facet of combatting this problem.”

In Nicholas County, police arrested 36 people in and around the Richwood area, making it the most heavily targeted area in the entire operation.

“They keep them out there,” she said. “They keep the supply going. It impacts and it drains the resources of the community. The more arrests that are made and the more punishment and examples that are made will have significant impact on the overall drug trade in my county.”

“I think we made a significant impact on the drug trade today in Fayette and Nicholas counties, specifically the Valley district here in Fayette County and the Richwood area in Nicholas County,” Harrah said.

Harrah also said the fight is nowhere near complete, and that these investigations are time-consuming.

“Now did we catch everybody?” Harrah said. “No. Are we still working hard to catch those individuals? Absolutely. This is a fight. This is an everyday battle. It’s not something that you can just say ‘well we did good today guys, let’s go home and high-fives all around.’ These guys are going to be right back at it tomorrow morning.”

Authorities released the following list of those being charged in the operation:

Richwood Area

Daniel Copen Lola Copen A.J. Copen Samuel Bo Copen

Jesse Copen Sandy Copen Nikki Copen Stacy Williams

Brandon Carpenter Debbie Wright Jessica Ward Karrisa Griffith

Terry Lewis Sammy Kesterson Brenda Gray Janet McKinney

T.J. Sweet Belinda Seabolt Warren Ryder Mandy Hinkle

Rick Wright Chris Harris Kelly Potter Stacy Hanshaw

Sandra Cartwright Earl Taylor WitleyCogar Dave Lawrence

Misty Russell Sam Griffith Chris Redden Coy Gwinn

Randy Tinney Matt Shaffer Charlie Thomas Miranda Puckett

Summersville Area

Brittany Potter Jason Dancy Bart Legg Crystal Cook

Mark Grose J.R. Ellison

Craigsville Area

Danny Holmes Jason Johnson Rick Meadows John Hall

Nikki Myers Candice Bess Amber Farley Stacey Bays

Candy Dillard Tim Wright Andy Rose

Birch River Area

Donna Gregory Rebecca Morris JohnCriss Pat Dillion

Mount Nebo/Ennon Area

Andrew Haas Matt Lipps Edward Stricker Eddie Hughes

Ansted/Fayetteville/Oak Hill/Mount Hope Area

Zach Hodge Andy Walton Watrina Jackson Patty Adkins

Jackie Young Chelsie Adkins Christa Smith William Smith

Austin Smith Jericho Wriston Shannon O’Dell Jerome Comer

Michael Stanley Michael Payne Marcus Brisco Keri Jacobowski

Trisha McMillan Aaron Pack Travis Hopkins Jareth Myers

Gauley Bridge/Smithers/Montgomery/Powellton/WV Route 61 Area

Michael Schoolcraft Eddie Young Joey Given Yvonne Legg

Speedy Legg George Leake, III Jeff Evans Eric Perez

Cameron Cochron Rayshawn Payne Shawn Patton Bubby Fragale

Barry Mitchell Kevin Smith