A Beverly man remained in jail Tuesday on drug-related charges after police allegedly caught him carrying three individually packaged plastic bags of marijuana inside his pants earlier this week.
Paul Jason Armstrong, 31, was charged with a felony count of possession with intent to deliver a Schedule I controlled substance, marijuana, Monday after police spotted his vehicle blocking two lanes of traffic, just north of Mill Creek on Routes 219/250.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the Randolph County Magistrate Clerk's Office, Sgt. B.T. Pawelczyk with the Randolph County Sheriff's Office was on routine traffic patrol when he saw Armstrong unsuccessfully attempting to move his gold four-door Saturn from the middle of Routes 219/250. When Pawelczyk approached the vehicle, Armstrong reportedly informed the officer that his vehicle had overheated and died while he was attempting to turn around.
Pawelczyk asked Armstrong for his license, registration and proof of insurance; however, Armstrong appeared "clearly nervous" and wasn't able to provide his license to officers, the complaint states. The officer smelled what he believed to be marijuana emanating from inside the vehicle, so he asked Armstrong if any illegal drugs were in the car.
Armstrong told Pawelczyk that a multi-colored glass pipe was located in the center console, but said he hadn't stored anything else illegal in the Saturn. Pawelczyk subsequently called U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer Dave Frazier, who arrived with his K-9 officer in tow. While Pawelczyk was patting down Armstrong, he allegedly discovered 25 sandwich bags in his rear left jeans pocket, "a green leafy substance that appeared to be marijuana residue" in his right sweatshirt pocket and about $300 in his right front jeans pocket.
"I asked (Armstrong) where the marijuana was that he smoked in his pipe, and he replied that he would show me," Pawelczyk wrote in the complaint. Armstrong then allegedly reached into the front of his pants and removed a large, clear Ziploc-style bag "from inside his groin area," according to the complaint.
The Ziploc bag allegedly contained three individually packaged bags of what Armstrong identified as medicinal-grade marijuana, $90 and two additional sandwich bags with green leafy plant material residue, the report states.
Pawelczyk placed Armstrong under arrest. While he was driving Armstrong to the Tygart Valley Regional Jail, the officer asked Armstrong "if he routinely carried marijuana and money inside his groin area inside his pants."
"He stated no, he kept it in the center console but he had hidden it in his pants because he knew he would be in trouble if I found it at the traffic stop," the sergeant wrote.
Armstrong also reportedly "agreed" that he "needed to find another way to make a living and agreed he needed to find a traditional job."
Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady said Tuesday that the Sheriff's Office will continue to do its job by prioritizing the eradication of drug use and abuse in Randolph County.
"We are utilizing all resources and all the tools available to us, including the U.S. Forest Service and its K-9 officer," Brady told The Inter-Mountain Tuesday.
Magistrate Rob Elbon set Armstrong's bond at $50,000 property or surety, and he remained in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail as of presstime.
The penalty for a conviction of possession with intent to deliver a Schedule I controlled substance is imprisonment in the state penitentiary for one to 15 years and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.