An Elkins man was arrested for growing marijuana after police allegedly found six marijuana plants and an assortment of drug paraphernalia in his apartment early Thursday morning.
Kevin Joseph Stewart, 27, of 114 Third St. Apt. 2, was charged with manufacture or possession with intent to manufacture a Schedule I controlled substance, a felony, after police conducted a search of his apartment and vehicle following a routine response to an alarm.
According to the criminal complaint in the Randolph County Magistrate Clerk's office, Cpl. C.D. Cross with the Elkins Police Department and Sgt. B.T. Pawelczyk with the Randolph County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to an apartment building located at 102 Second Street in reference to a silent/panic alarm at 11:47 p.m. Wednesday. When the officers arrived at the apartment building, the Randolph County E-911 Center advised the officers that the alarm had been canceled.
As they were leaving the area, both officers allegedly saw Stewart running through the City of Elkins' parking lot behind the Tygart Hotel en route to Third Street via an alley. When police asked Stewart why he was running, he told them he was running back to his apartment after moving his vehicle from the street to the city parking lot in order to avoid receiving a street sweeper ticket, the complaint states.
"Because of the amount of calls and complaints the Elkins Police Department answers in regards to illegal activity in that area, (I) asked (Stewart) to produce his ID," Cross, the investigating officer, wrote in the report. Stewart said he didn't have his ID with him and asked if he could fetch it from his apartment. At that point, Cross performed a frisk search of Stewart's person and allegedly found a marijuana pipe and a small glass container with green residue that allegedly smelled like marijuana in the pocket of his shorts.
Cross asked Stewart if there was any marijuana in his apartment, and he allegedly replied, "not that I am aware of, sir." As police were accompanying Stewart to his apartment to retrieve his ID, Cross also asked him if any weapons were stored in his apartment, to which he reportedly replied, "No guns, just some knives and swords that I collect," the complaint states.
When Stewart opened the door to his apartment, both officers allegedly detected the odor of marijuana emanating from inside the residence. Upon entering, Cross saw a semi-automatic handgun lying on top of a speaker near the front door in addition to "numerous" swords and knives hanging on the walls, according to the complaint.
Cross picked up the handgun and allegedly discovered that the magazine was loaded with .22-caliber bullets. When Stewart turned over his ID, the officers told him that his apartment smelled like marijuana and asked him a second time if there was any marijuana located throughout the dwelling.
"(Stewart) then dropped his chin toward his chest and nervously stated, 'No sir, not that I am aware of,'" Cross wrote in the complaint. "(I) then advised (Stewart) that I was a K-9 Officer and I could get my K-9 and have her perform a sniff search of the room for the odor of narcotics."
Cross subsequently searched Stewart's apartment and allegedly found four black plastic buckets and two white plastic buckets filled with soil and marijuana plants, a lamp, a fan and grow light, according to the complaint. Also in the living room, Cross allegedly discovered another marijuana plant, a wooden container filled with drug paraphernalia, marijuana seeds, marijuana plant stems and a scale able to support up to 3 pounds.
Cross and K-9 Officer Macy also searched Stewart's vehicle and allegedly found five sandwich bags lined with marijuana residue.
Stewart was then arrested and transported to the Tygart Valley Regional Jail where he remained as of presstime.
Chief Magistrate Ben Shepler set bond at $35,000 cash, property or surety.
The penalty for a conviction of manufacture or possession with intent to manufacture a Schedule I controlled substance is confinement in the state penitentiary for one to 15 years, a fine of up to $25,000 or both.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.