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Dingess Arrested on Drug Charges

January 2, 2008
By BEN SIMMONS, Staff Writer
A three-year investigation by the Barbour County Sheriff’s Department culminated in the arrest of a Belington business owner Saturday on drug-related charges stemming from the sale of crack cocaine to an undercover informant in December.

Mac A. Dingess, 65, of Laurel Mountain Road, Belington, was arrested at his home Saturday on one count each of delivery of a controlled substance and possession with the intent to deliver, both felonies. Dingess is being housed in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail pending a $100,000 cash bond.

The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Web site lists Dingess as the incorporator and president of Dingess Lumber Co. Inc. in Belington.

According to a prepared statement from Barbour County Sheriff John M. Cutright, the department executed a search warrant issued by Barbour County Circuit Judge Alan D. Moats for the Dingess’ residence on Laurel Mountain Road. The warrant alleges Dingess had sold crack cocaine to a confidential informant in December.

Two criminal complaints have been filed against Dingess in Barbour County Magistrate Court. The first charges Dingess with delivery of a controlled substance, crack cocaine, and the second complaint charges him with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, crack cocaine, both felonies.

Investigating officer Barbour County Chief Deputy John Hawkins told The Inter-Mountain the arrest was made possible with the joint effort by officers and agencies from several departments in Barbour, as well as surrounding counties.

“We had a lot of assistance from officers within our department as well as other departments in and out of Barbour County,” Hawkins said. “Some officers who assisted with the investigation are no longer in uniform, but we could not have done it without them. We’re just glad it came to a conclusion with an arrest. Now it’s in the court system.”

Hawkins said Tucker County Sheriff Tom Felton and Taylor County Sheriff Robert Beltner, along with Grafton Chief of Police Bobby Beltner and other officers, assisted with the raid on the Dingess residence.

Dingess was arraigned Saturday evening before Barbour County Magistrate Kathi McBee, who set bond at $100,000 cash.

Hawkins said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be pending. A preliminary hearing will be conducted within 10 days to determine if there is enough evidence to bind the case over to a grand jury. If convicted, Dingess could face up to 30 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

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