Suspect charged with drug crimes, leading police on chase denied reduction in bond

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A Wood County man who admitted to smoking meth before leading police on a chase through Harrison County earlier this year was denied a reduction in his bond.

Larry Defrietas
Larry Defrietas

Larry Manuel Defrietas, 42, of Parkersburg, appeared in court Tuesday to present a petition to have his bond of $100,000 in Harrison County reduced by Circuit Court Judge Thomas Bedell.

One his behalf, defense attorney Eric Householder argued that Defrietas was not a flight risk and if able to post bond, he would either move into an efficiency apartment near his family during the time leading up to the trial or move in with his sister in Vienna –who lives near the police station.

Assistant Prosecutor in Harrison County Traci Cook countered that the bond was set appropriately and done so not because of a flight risk, but because of Defrietas’ criminal history.

According to Cook, the 29-page rap sheet includes “at least two” felonies that qualify as violent offenses. She also referenced an instance of Defrietas failing to appear in court.

Judge Bedell sided with the prosecution and denied the reduction.

In April, Defrietas, along with codefendant Kristin Liberty Gustke, 28, also of Parkersburg, led police in Harrison County on a chase eventually ending along U.S. 19.

The Jeep Cherokee the two were in contained 15 grams of marijuana, 7 grams of raw heroin, 40 grams of crystal meth to go along with 17 grams found on Defrietas and .357 magnum handgun.

He admitted that he smoked the meth before he was approached and did not realize it was an officer before taking off. Once he started, he said during Tuesday’s hearing, he was “too scared to stop,” driving in the wrong lane and running other cars off of the road.

The two were arrested on warrants from Wood County and charged with three counts of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana, along with one count of fleeing from law enforcement in a vehicle with reckless indifference.

Defrietas is also facing charges in Randolph County and Wood County, where his bond is set at $8,000 and $10,000, respectively.

Tuesday’s motion hearing was moved up earlier in the day due to Defrietas being non-cooperative with officials transporting him to the courthouse, which resulted in him being pepper-sprayed twice.

Speaking in his defense, he claimed the officials misconstrued his repeated request for a seatbelt adjustment into non-compliance.

Extra security precautions were taken, but no incident took place.